Clio Ozanne-Jaques-Where is she now?
by Nicole Martin-Capturing Cairns
She’ll be representing Australia in Uganda on the 26 March.
Champion runner Clio Ozanne-Jaques from Cairns completed year 12 last year and moved south to pursue her dreams as a distance runner.
Having a list of sporting achievements a mile long, including most recently being selected in the Australian Junior Cross Country Team to compete at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships (2017 Junior) she is the perfect example of a student who was successfully able to juggle training commitments and study…but is the life of an elite athlete a balanced one? What sacrifices has she made to get to where she is?
Her answers may surprise you.
CC: Clio. You have a list of running achievements a mile long. What are some of your best?
- Australian Junior Cross-Country representative
- National Silver medallist 3000m
- State Cross-Country Champion
- Queensland All Schools Cross-Country Champion
- 3-time state medallist State Cross-Country and Track & Field
- Queensland and Peninsula Cross-Country Captain
- Selected into both Queensland talent squad and A squad
- Can almost touch my toes
CC: What are you currently training for? Where are you and who is your coach?
CO: Currently, I’m training for the World Junior Cross-Country Championships which are to be held in Kampala, Uganda later this month. It’s a 6km Cross-Country event so it’s quite a jump in distance from the 4km xc races I competed in during high school, but who doesn’t want to run an extra 2km of fun!! I am living on the Gold Coast and am training under Jayden Russ in Brisbane.
CC: Are you studying?
CO: At the moment, unfortunately I’m not studying due to the fact that I plan to fly over to America at the end of August and commence my university degree over there! With my amazing support network, I somehow scored a full scholarship at the University of Mississippi (you know the college in the movie Blind Side??) so I’ll be keen to get back into learning. I hope to study something science based and then return to Australia and complete a medical degree.
CC: What do you miss the most about Cairns?
CO: As much as I complained about Cairns, there is actually so much to miss about it! I miss my parents (not so much my younger brothers just yet – they are still just as annoying!!), my puppy (even if he did chew my Calvin Klein bra to pieces) and of course my second family – Jill and everyone at Pace Project. Of course, I have met some fantastic friends down here already but nothing can replace the familiar things such as the sound of Jill’s snorts or Cairns’ sweltering humidity or even just early morning walks on the beach with my mum. I know it’s cheesy but it’s the things that made Cairns home to me that I miss most.
CC: Tell us about Jill Boltz
CO: Hmm… I had to answer this one last.
Sometimes in life, if we are extraordinarily lucky, we meet certain people who can influence our life for the better. These people are rarities; they are selfless, humble and live to ignite the fire inside of others… expecting nothing in return. My love for this amazing woman is endless, my appreciation even more so. There are actually no words in the English language that I could string together in a sequence to describe the sheer brilliance of Jill Boltz. She epitomises the very foundation of humility, respect and success… you’ve never met anyone with a more positive outlook on life.
She is more than just a coach – she is a mother of three, a friend who will always have your back and a two-time Olympian and World Record holder who still wakes up at 4.30am just to continue doing what she so fiercely fell in love with so many years ago.
CC: What did you learn from her?
To be grounded. To keep my head up. To work hard. To believe in myself.
Jill has worked hard all her life and there is nothing more that I admire than a hard-working ethic and determination. She has taught me so much, both on and off the track and I will definitely carry these lessons with me my whole life. Jill’s top three messages are;
- One bad race doesn’t define you as a person or athlete. Rather than waste the energy stressing about what you can’t change, focus your energy on to looking forward into the future. It’s not the end of the world.
- If you want something, work hard for it. If you have worked hard then don’t stress the results will follow.
- Don’t ever neglect your speed (this only applies to running though!!)
CC: What do you find is the biggest challenge for you as an elite athlete?
CO: Hahaha I wouldn’t say I’m an elite athlete, but the hardest thing about this would be the emotions after a bad race or when you’re plateauing. There is nothing worse than training hard for months, investing so much time and energy into training, absolutely committing yourself to the sport and nothing going right. Often, runners have periods where they plateau, and no matter what you do, you just can’t PB or run well and it really does drain you – both physically and mentally.
CC: What do you love about it (being an elite athlete)?
CO: I love being passionate. I love knowing that the good results that follow are due to my perseverance (aka obsession) and the fact that I committed to doing those extra one percenters. I love going for a run and being overcome by the feeling of elation. I don’t know, I just love pushing myself outside of my comfort zone because who wants to live a comfortable life?
CC: Why do you do it? Is there something that draws you to running?
CO: It’s my escape. Sounds generic but there is nothing better than going for a long run before anyone else is awake and clearing your mind of stress and worry. When I was on my block exams, I used to wake up at 5am and go for a 10k run before my maths exam… it was the only way I could focus for 3 hours!! I also love the qualities it instils – self-discipline, commitment and a hard-working ethic – it honestly has defined me as a person.
CC: So in your opinion, as a young athlete, what does it take to elevate your performance to a higher level?
CO: I know I’ve consistently mentioned this throughout, but it’s hard work, sacrifice and genuine passion. I believe it takes everything you have to get to where you want to go… but you must enjoy the process or else it’s pointless!
CC: Do you have any regrets?
CO: Yes – my lack of belief in myself. I still struggle with it now, but my confidence in my ability used to be almost non-existent. I definitely wish I had taken a different mental approach in that regard.
CC: Do you ever think about giving up running?
CO: I’ve thought about it. There have been long periods where I have plateaued and no matter how hard I trained, I would just not get the results I deserve. It’s a bit soul-crushing, because you’re trapped with negative thoughts, but then I think about life without running and honestly, that just seems worse! I couldn’t do it!
CC: What is your preferred distance?
CO: Can’t go wrong with a 5km road race!
CC: Is Tokyo 2020 on the agenda?
CO: At the moment I can’t say. It would be a dream come true, but right now I’m focusing on short term goals, taking it one step at a time.
CC: What is your advice to a school age talented athlete who wants to make it to the top in their sport?
CO: I’d tell them that school is equally as important as training and racing. You should treat school work just like training – wholly committing yourself and taking no short cuts because there really is no substitute for something that I believe can be the foundation of your life. If someone wants to make it to the top of their sport, then they will have to make sacrifices but also understand the importance of balance.
CC: Are your parents sporty?
CO: My dad played for the wallabies and was a national champion swimmer but none of those genes were inherited by me… I swim like a drowning rat and he runs like one! As for mum… well, all her muscle went to her brain. Yeah, I wouldn’t use the adjective “sporty” to describe my mum!
CC: I know it’s early days yet, but have you thought about what you would you like to do post running?
CO: I would like to be a doctor or be involved in a career where I can help others. Maybe even start a training group and give back what has given me so much joy!
CC: What do you do to relax/in your spare time?
CO: I enjoy reading, hanging out with friends, playing sport, going to the beach, having a laugh… oh and I’m currently into binge watching House!
CC: Did you feel you missed out on anything to fulfil your running commitments?
CO: I guess living in Cairns put me at a disadvantage in that I was unable to travel to every major or important meet – I missed quite a few opportunities to run fast times. It would have also been better to race my competition more frequently so that I could see that I was just as good as them and not have doubted myself as much. In saying that, I would say that living in Cairns has also made me stronger in so many aspects so I can’t complain!
CC: How did you maintain a balance in your life with so much training?
CO: To maintain a healthy balance, I had to plan my week so that it was so jam packed, I had to really utilise my free time to be productive. In a week, I would work two/three nights, train seven times whilst balancing the stressful workload of year 12.
This meant beginning assignments as soon as I received them, handing in full drafts well before the due date, seeing teachers during break times, avoiding distractions, working hard in class etc.
I had to sacrifice some of my social life but worked hard to ensure that I could hang out and relax with my friends as much as possible because I’m not a robot and this is a crucial part of anyone’s life!