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Andrea Seccafien: “So, I just moved across the world…”

At the end of her season this year, Andrea Seccafien packed her belongings and jumped on a plane

I started dating my current partner, Jamie, long before I was any good at running. (Bare with me, this isn’t a post on my personal life). Shortly after we started dating, Jamie went on to do his PhD in exercise physiology. When he graduated, he was offered a postdoctoral fellowship in Melbourne, Australia. He moved in March, while I stayed back in Toronto so as not to disrupt my eventual build-up to the World Championships. After my season ended, I packed up all of my belongings, said goodbye to the University of Toronto Track Club and my coach, Ross Ristuccia, and boarded a plane bound for Melbourne.

This move wasn’t made for my sport. It was made for me as a person. Running fast times and achieving good placings doesn’t make me happy in isolation. Success in this sport, or in anything, matters only when shared. Jamie has been my main support and cheerleader for the past eight years and I believe that being close to the people who care about you is what matters the most. A happy runner is a fast runner, as they say. And honestly, who wants to deal with a southern Ontario winter when a place that gets no colder than 10 degrees is on offer?

RELATED: How I really feel about my summer season

Thankfully for me, Melbourne happens to be home to what may possibly be the best training group in the world for the women’s 5,000m. Coached by Nic Bideau, the Melbourne Track Club is made up of Susan Krumins (14:51), Eloise Wellings (14:54), Genevieve LaCaze (15:06), Heidi See (15:22) and Camille Buscomb (15:19). And now myself.

While I’m only two weeks into running (and my tempo runs are a shell of what I usually do) I’m so looking forward to training with this group of professional women who I’ve spent a few years chasing around at major championships. These women have achieved the things in this sport that I strive for and I look forward to learning from them.

It’s no secret that I got my butt kicked at Worlds this year. I thought I was in great shape, but to truly compete at the world class level, the bar has to be raised. I believe that by training with these women who have made championship finals, and being guided by Nic who has coached seemingly infinite finalists, I too will make a final. I don’t think I’m aware yet of the kind of fitness it really takes to run with the best in the world but there’s much to look forward to.

I’m also looking forward to being part of a professional group. Until now, I’ve trained with varsity groups, which are a great option in Canada, but leave much of the planning and execution of my career up to me. That leaves room for mistakes. Nic doubles as his athletes’ manager and agent, and plans our training camps and racing stints in Europe. Our time in this sport is so finite and I don’t want to squander time or waste fitness by not being prepared.