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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Lonain Burnett wins VAL middle distance athlete of the year title

Lonain Burnett wins VAL middle distance athlete of the year title

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Lonain Burnett wins VAL middle distance athlete of the year title

Bendigo Advertiser
1 Jun 2017

FRESH from one of the highlights of his career, Bendigo athlete Lonain Burnett intends chasing down another great prize next season.

Burnett is the 2016-17 winner of the Victorian Athletics League (VAL) middle distance runner of the year award.

It was reward for a season the 22-year-old stopped short of labelling his most consistent ever, but definitely among the best.

"I've been running for about eight years and have been nominated a couple of times beforehand for this same award, it just happened to be this year was my lucky year," he said.

"I probably made most finals this year, I might have missed out on about three or four, so it was a very consistent year.

"There was another year where I made most of the finals and only missed out on about one, but this was right up there with that."

Highlights for Burnett included his 800m win at the Ballarat Gift meeting, reaching the final of the 400m Black Opal in Bendigo and a heat placing in his first attempt at the 550m at the Bay Sheffield in Adelaide, Australia's second most prestigious running carnival.

And then there were his two finals appearances in the 800m and 550m at the Stawell Gift carnival in April.

His second placing in the 800m was the third straight year he had finished runner-up in the event at Central Park.

Understandably, it is the race Burnett said he would most like to capture next season.

"It's edging closer ... I didn't really set myself up for it this year like I did last year,"  he said.

"This year I planned on having a crack at a couple of finals and the 800m wasn’t one of them, I was supposed to make the 400m and 550m.

"I missed out on the 400m, made the final in the 550m and then decided to have a go at the 800m and I surprised myself by coming second.

"It's a bit of a sweet and sour moment, you get into a good place and close to a win, but it's also that third second in a row.

"I just need to keep on working and hopefully I'll get there one day."

The Black Opal, run during the Bendigo International Madison in March, is another race he hopes to eventually add to his list of victories.

Burnett, who is a parks and gardens apprentice with the City of Greater Bendigo, is spending his winter playing for Strathdale in the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League men's division one competition.

The Blues are currently third on the ladder behind Eaglehawk and acknowledged as a genuine premiership threat.

He is already back in training for the 2017-18 VAL season, which starts in October.

"There's no rest for the weary," he joked.

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