After four straight Hunter Track Classic titles, and multiple beach visits, Morgan Mitchell reckons she might even move to Newcastle one day.
But in the meantime, the only new territory Commonwealth Games-aspirant Mitchell wants to explore is breaking the 51-second barrier.
The 23-year-old Victorian didn’t quite get there at Glendale on Saturday, but the 52.77s performance in winning the women’s 400 metres was a step in the right direction towards achieving that goal on the Gold Coast in April.
“To be honest, it would be silly to say the plan isn’t a PB [personal best],” Mitchell told the Newcastle Herald.
“I want a PB and I think that if I go under 51 [seconds] anything can happen. But we all know it’s a very hard task just running 51. Once I can get back to that comfortably. it’s just full steam ahead and have as much fun as I can.”
The three-time Australian champion has a best time of 51.25s in the one-lap event, recorded in England on June 5, 2016, which puts her eighth on the all-time national rankings and the quickest since fourth-placed Jana Pittman (50:43) 15 years ago.
Mitchell has already clocked eight Commonwealth Games qualifiers during the last 12 months. One of her three A-marks (51.96s) came at the 2017 Hunter Track Classic.
The weekend’s effort at the same venue fell just outside the minimum B-standard (52.70s), but potentially provides a launching pad into the upcoming season.
“That felt awesome, despite the time, I’m so happy with it,” Mitchell, a fan favourite with cheers down the straight and children seeking autographs, said.
“We needed that and we got it. I’ve been working hard and it’s just good to see it all coming together.”
As for shifting to the region.
“It’s my favourite place on the map, that’s why I keep coming back,” she said.
“I’m going to have to buy here. I fall more and more in love every year.”
Other Olympic winners from the Hunter Track Classic on Saturday included Linden Hall (women’s 5000m), Jenny Blundell (women’s 1500m) and Damien Birkinhead (men’s shot put).
Commonwealth Games B-qualifiers were recorded at Glendale by Sydney Uni’s Paige Campbell (9:49.60) in the women’s 3000m steeplechase and Randwick’s Morgan McDonald (3:39.14) in the men’s 1500m.
Meanwhile, Newcastle wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley clocked Australia’s best, and his second, Commonwealth Games A-qualifier for the men’s T54 1500m in Canberra on Saturday with 3:01.41 as part of the Summer Down Under series.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.