When track season comes to a close, Mitch Wilson can sit back and enjoy a beer on us. Approaching the season with hopes to break the sub 2 minute barrier in the 800m, he not only smashed that time but went on to break his PB on multiple occasions. Rounding out February with a new PB of 1:56, with more racing still to come, Mitch has earned his beers.  

Tell us about yourself:
I’m a full-time criminal prosecutor by trade, posing as a wannabe professional runner. All the gear, some idea...type scenario. Born and raised in Melbourne, Victoria and have no plans to leave whilst this reinvigorated Melbourne running scene continues to grow. An unapologetically diehard Collingwood fan, run coach, coffee lover, craft beer and whisky enthusiast.

Talk to us a little about your running journey:
Like many runners, I found the sport during little athletics days. This transitioned to running for school and Box Hill Athletics as a young tacker where I took a liking to the 800m, more-so because I wasn’t cut out for the work required to run a 3k. My father has always inspired the runner in me, having run five marathons himself. Our bond for running cultivated when we ran the 2016 New York City Marathon together for what was my 21st birthday “present” and his final marathon. Safe to say I developed the running bug, running the Austin, Texas Marathon in 2018 whilst living in the U.S, then the Melbourne and Sydney Marathons in 2019.  It’s only recently that my running focus has shifted back to the track. My love for running continues to be expressed through my online run coaching business: Wilson Running, where our purpose is to help others fall in love with running too.

Your running has become much more serious recently?
The COVID-19 pandemic was a stimulant for many wanting to rediscover what was most important to them. For me it was running. 2020 was about falling back in love with running, which had its challenges including seven (7) calf tears when trying to do too much too soon. In 2021 I decided I couldn’t do it alone, and for the first time since high school I found a coach in the wonderful Liam Delany at Vigor Coaching. In what was an initial goal to run Gold Coast Marathon, quickly had me back on the track retrying athletics. Oh, the fire in the belly was back! 

You’ve even had the opportunity lately to train with some real big dogs?
If by big dogs you mean Samuel Low, Amy Robinson, and Andrew McIntosh? This Collingwood trio have pushed me to new heights. But yes, I have also been very fortunate to learn from some Olympic middle-distance runners, where their guidance, professionalism and friendship has left a lasting impression.

Talk us through your last month and 800m progression:
The Summer track season has been both incredibly long, yet over in the blink of an eye. November & December flew by and all of a sudden you’re racing almost every week in the New Year. I entered the season just wanting to break the elusive 2:00minute 800m barrier, in what seemed like a world away 2 years ago. In high school the closest I got was 2:04. Fortunately I was able to run 1:58 in the first 800m race of the season in November. January and February 2022 included VicMilers races, NSW Champs and Victorian State Champs, where I was able to run a 1:56 and consistently run around those times. I finished 11th in the State Champs which was a bit of a “pinch-me” moment considering where I had come from. 
What’s next? 
The final VicMilers 800m on 10 March 2022 will draw the 800m season to a close. That is closely followed by the Tiger5 (5000m) and Box Hill Classic 1500m races. I’m hoping to convert some of my speed over the longer distances.

Long term goals with running? 
Had you asked me 3 months ago, it would have been a return to the Marathon. However, I feel I am just getting started over the 800m. I am 26 now and I know my track speed won’t be around forever, so we will use the winter season to build a summer base and see if we can go one better. Perhaps a quick half-marathon or two. Don’t worry: I will make a return to the marathon soon.

Favourite beer?
Craft beer with plenty of hops. Currently it’s the Easy Hazy by Balter.