“The warrior once felt all the pain of the universe and it forged her into a fighter”. Angela Abrahams
We first heard the name Imogen Stewart in 2018 when she sensationally blitzed the Gold Coast 4km Junior Dash at the age of 14yrs. Imogen not only won the girls’ division of the Garmin 4km Junior Dash, she was the first finisher overall beating juniors aged up to 14 years. Since then Imogen has left a trail of ‘wins’ in her path.
While Imogen’s running talent is on display for all, her hidden talents are less obvious. Those that know her, understand that it is her inner resolve, tenacity, determination and work ethic that sets her above the rest.
In a word, Imogen Stewart is tough. In training and in racing, she has the rare ability to reach into herself and find that toughness…that warrior within.
In 2019, Imogen suffered a few setbacks with injury. While it was certainly was not an easy time, injury did not deter this humble warrior from chasing down her goals.
In 2020, her hard work paid off. One of the strongest fields in the NSW Short Course Cross Country Championships was the under-16 girls 3km. The tough competition did not stop Imogen winning the event by 20 seconds in 10:17.
Imogen has an incredible attitude to running and racing. With a commitment to hard work, a fierce determination and gutsy attitude Imogen is a wonderful role model for all IMPIs far and wide!
Find out more about how Imogen started running and what motivates her to keep going!
How and why did you start running?
I started running at the age of about 7. This is because my mum and dad both ran and I was inspired to try it and see if I enjoyed it too. We would run as a family and it became something that I would look forward to. I then started joining in at my parents sessions and found that running was something that came easily to me.
Do you have a favourite distance?
Yes, my favourite distance is currently the 3km on the track. I love the track in general, and I find 3km’s nice as the pace is slower, making the distance more relaxing and enjoyable.
What is your favourite training session?
My favourite training session would be anything with a bit of speed, but not too short, like 600m’s. I also like short efforts with a small recovery.
What has been your career highlight so far?
So far, the run that I’m the most proud of would have to be my 800m at the NSW State Athletics champs in 2018. This might sound a little odd, as I have competed at national level also, but I enjoyed that run as I surprised myself with my time and it was the first race that I had ever done a PB in (racing my age group)
What is the most challenging event you have competed in?
Probably competing at the NSW open state 3km championship when I was 10. This was my first race against the open women and the first race that I had competed in the A grade. I was very nervous beforehand, racing girls a lot taller than me but after I finished I was so happy and wanted to do it again.
What are your goals for the 2020/2021 season?
I haven’t run a PB in about 2 years, so I’d love nothing more than to run a PB this season!!
What is your favourite post-race meal?
Anything sweet! But I especially love sticky date pudding and thick shakes..!
What is your top recovery tip?
Now, this is a hard one! I’m someone who is a little bit slack with doing exercises and stretching! But if I am sore or tired, I will give my body a couple days/a week off running and focus on getting fresh and ready to train again.
What advice would you give to another teenager who is thinking about starting to run?
Find some friends who will start with you or a running group you can join, that way it is fun and social. Just enjoy yourself- there is no point stressing yourself out! If you don’t run a PB, or feel like you're not improving don’t worry, just keep on going and enjoying it because your hard work will always pay off.
Do you play any other sport?
No, I used to, but now I have found that I don’t have enough time to balance running school and another sport, as it takes me about an hour to get to school. I don’t mind this though, because there are no sports that I find as enjoyable and fun as running.
Who inspires you on Instagram? Who is an athlete you admire and why?
There are many people that inspire me, all of which are runners. I love watching Jess Hull run and compete over in America, as it is something that I’d love to do one day. I also love watching Karissa Schweizer and Shelby Houlihan race as they are both such amazing athletes!