Q & A:  Carter Stacey

Age: 16
Event: Heptathlon
Personal Best: 3235
Coach/s: Shane Watson, Adam McAndrew, Andrew and Penny, Tableland Athletics, My Dad
Club: Tableland Athletics

When year did you first get involved in athletics?

2019 in June  – I’m a bit of a late bloomer ☺

As an athlete who is reasonably new to heptathlon, how do find it compares to individual events? 

I really enjoy the different disciplines.  Having competed in many different sports over the years I’ve found that all of the skills I’ve acquired contribute to each of the events in some way.  I think I’d get bored if I did just one thing. 

The heptathlon is 7 events over 2 days and you spend a lot of time with your fellow competitors.  Describe what the camaraderie is like between athletes.

For a couple of days it’s like one big family.  Each of us had our own strengths and weaknesses and we both celebrated and commiserated with each other, depending on the outcome!  I didn’t know any of the other athletes though I do now.  We all follow each other on the ‘gram.

What is your favourite event and your least favourite event and why?

Favourite event is a tie between javelin and hurdles.  Jav because it’s what got me in to Athletics to begin with and hurdles because I’ve only just started learning how to jump over them properly.  My least is the 800m because I’ve always been a sprinter.  So I currently spend more time on this than anything.  I’ve been working on my endurance and making friends with the pain barrier via lactic sessions.

Multi-events can be quite challenging both physically and mentally.  When you are competing are there any things you do to recover between events or between day 1 and 2?

Well I’ve only really competed twice.  Once at ANQ 2019 where I qualified for Nationals and then at Nationals earlier this year.  It was all a bit of a shock.  Physically I rested and mentally I regrouped.  My first event at Nationals was a train wreck so I was pretty happy that I focussed well enough to pull a PB in my next event which was high jump. 

Can you briefly describe how your training week works and how many days you train given you have to cover so many events?

I currently train 6 days a week, twice a day. Four afternoons a week I travel to Cairns for hurdles, running and throws and I go to the gym at least three times a week for plyo, boxing and strength training.   The rest of the time I’m covering off all of the events from home as well as club on Sundays.

What are the training challenges for a rural athlete especially in an event like the heptathlon?  Can you list some advantages and disadvantages?

The biggest challenge is distance as well as not having a single coach for all of the events.  I have four different coaches though this is also an advantage as I have the benefit of varied coaching styles and each coach is a specialist.  I live on a farm so there’s heaps of space to do most of what I need.  Probably the only thing I can’t do is high jump though I can practice the approach and jumping, just not the roll over.  As a newcomer I have a lot of work to do with technique in just about everything so that’s something I can work on from home and then show Coach the following week.

You have had a number of people help you in your short journey.  Who are those people and what have they done for you?

This all started with a Peninsula qual for State trials in Javelin so I joined Tableland Athletics.   They were so supportive and continue to be.  Coach Watto (Shane Watson) in Cairns started coaching me in throws shortly thereafter. I’m grateful to have just joined a small group for hurdles and running training.  Adam McAndrew coaches his daughter Ruby as well as a couple of other athletes.  I love his honesty and he has a great way of explaining things.  I also have the benefit of training with Ruby who is super fast.  Then there’s Dad who’s pretty handy with paying attention to the things I need to fix with my technique.  He also drives me everywhere. Takes a village!

What is the best thing about competing in athletics?

I feel like I have direction, more drive and I love how strong my body is becoming.  There’s ALWAYS something to work on, perfect, do and the athletics family are really supportive of each other.  There’s literally inspiration around every corner.

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