WHEN it comes to running, Dean Kilpatrick doesn’t need to look far for motivation.
He just needs to turn his head to the side at the starting line to see the person he is trying to keep up with — his energetic son Harrison.
Like most youngsters, the nine-year-old starts races at a lightning-quick pace.
“And he finishes off pretty hard too,” Kilpatrick laughed.
“He makes me push a bit harder.”
The duo will both compete in the Warrnambool Athletic Club (WAC) Winter Series this weekend, which incorporates the first junior race of the series.
WAC president John Keats said the club has introduced the three-kilometre junior races into its program to cater for families, with under 16 competitors racing for free.
For the Kilpatricks, it ties in with Warrnambool Little Athletics Club’s cross-country season.
“This is the first time we’re really going to push the cross-country season,” said Kilpatrick, who is the Little Athletics vice-chairman and team manager.
“We’re going to run every Saturday morning and we’ll participate in these events with Warrnambool Athletics Club.”
The training will help prepare the juniors for their school cross-country competitions but it is ultimately preparation for the 2012 state cross-country championships, which will be held in Warragul in August.
Age groups at the state titles are under seven to eight (1000m), under nine to 10 (1500m), under 11 to 12 (2000m) and under 13 to 15 (3000m).
The first cross-country training session for Little Athletics youngsters will be at Lake Pertobe on May 5, starting from the Warrnambool Surf Club car park.
Sunday’s WAC Winter Series open race is a six-kilometre run from the Harbour Pavilion which sees competitors predict what time they will record.
The club will hand out prizes to those who are closest to their predicted time.
Action starts at 9am.
Meanwhile, WAC is holding a seminar at Jetty Flat on April 24 that will offer runners assistance with goal-setting and developing training programs.