Ryan Gregson: They all say I look like Ovett – and I get a real kick out of that

On The Road To 2012: Postcard from Wollongong

I live in Wollongong. It's a big coastal town, 50 miles south of Sydney in New South Wales. Most of the running I do here is on the cycle path next to the beach. My mum Sue is usually alongside me on the bike.

My training group is the Melbourne Track Club. There's myself and some other good Australian distance runners, such as Collis Birmingham and Ben St Lawrence. Because the rest of the group are based in Melbourne, we only meet up to do training camps.

We also base ourselves in London, in Teddington, for the European summer track season. It's weird but when I head there in late May or early June it feels like home. I also do some altitude training at Mount Laguna, which is just up from San Diego in California, but for some reason in America it doesn't feel like home.

There's something about England – I guess it's because that's where all Australians pretty much come from. Our cultures are similar and we're the same kind of people. It definitely does feel like home in London. The Olympics are going to feel like a home-from-home Games.

I'm 21 now and I was only 10 when the Olympics were in Sydney. Sonia O'Sullivan, the wife of my coach, Nic Bideau, won a silver in the 5,000m but I don't remember that race. I was there for Cathy Freeman's 400m semi-final, sitting up in the rafters in the back row with 150 metres to go. There was no cover and it was raining that night so I got pretty wet.

It was a great experience, having a home Olympics only an hour and a half up the road. It was pretty cool. It would have been better if I had been older, though. I didn't totally understand the huge significance of the occasion.

We've got our Olympic trials in March and I've also got to run a time of under 3min 35.50sec to qualify for the 1500m.

I ran 3:31.06 in Monaco but that was two years ago. I got struck down with injury a few days after, and have had a fair few setbacks since then. I pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in 2010 with a stress fracture in my foot.

That run in Monaco kind of came out of the blue. That day I really wasn't expecting to do it, to break Simon Doyle's Australian record.

I've had to take my time and sit it out since then but hopefully I can start revising the potential I showed that day.

Some people have said I'm a bit of a double for Steve Ovett. There is one photo where I suppose I just kind of look the same. I have met Steve a few times. I'm good friends with his son Freddy, who's a very good middle-distance runner. We speak a fair bit.

I guess if there is a comparison to be made with Ovett it's more in the way I race. In the slower races I do have a pretty good kick at the end. Ovett was well known for that.

Actually, Ovett is the guy who's name I've typed in the most when I've gone on to YouTube. He's the runner I've researched the most: just the way he raced, the big kick, and waving to the crowd, stuff like that. It's great to watch.

Even though I wasn't around to see it at the time, looking back at Ovett on YouTube is a great, great running experience.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Recruitment Genius: HR Advisor

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our Client has been the leader ...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us