Time Trials are not often a term that gets anyone overly excited to jump out of bed and take part. Our natural, competitive instincts combined with the brutal honesty of the clock means we know a state of exhaustion is set to be an inevitable part of our morning on trial day. However, as the RunAsOne team sets off for their warm up, competes to the best of their ability, and stands around reflecting on a sense of accomplishment, you get the feeling that there’s nowhere anyone in the group would rather be. For coaches Riley Cocks and Izzi Batt-Doyle, they are able to receive valuable feedback about their programs from these events. However, when asked about his favourite part of the last seasons handicap time trial, coach Riley can’t go past the moment of Ruby Hickman digging deep to out kick her dad Travis!

Ruby started running as a 10-year-old. She credits her dad’s enthusiasm, as well as the support of a school teacher for her initial love for the sport. She competed individually and in relays, before eventually combining her ability to run with her talents for swimming and cycling. From the ages of 13-17 Ruby proudly represented South Australia at the School Sport Australia Triathlon Championships. She is able to reflect fondly on the experiences this provided her as a teenager, and is even able to attribute many of her strengths outside of sport to the discipline, organisation, and resilience that training for endurance sport demands. However, despite a love for training and competing, life got in the way for Ruby. An ambitious and intelligent student, Ruby had some big goals for her final year of school and beyond. She had placed a great amount of pressure on herself for many years leading up to this point, and it was time to provide herself the opportunity to achieve what she wanted to from her high school studies.

Now studying a Bachelor of Veterinary Bioscience, and on a pathway to becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, it is clear Ruby made the right decision for her at that point in her life. However, what she didn’t expect was for running to adopt a new, and perhaps even more enjoyable role in her present life as a devoted student! To have the ability to switch off from the monotony of the text books and get outside for a run, is something Ruby is incredibly grateful for. Moreover, it is these moments that provide the opportunity for Ruby and her family to spend some extra quality time together. It’s an emotional Ruby who reflects on the importance of her dad’s influence on the lifestyle of both herself and her little brother. She credits his commitment to goals, and persistence for improvement, for her own desire to better herself in every aspect of life. So, equipped with a reignited enthusiasm for running, Ruby took the advice of her friends and colleagues Meg and Zoe Toland, and decided to join the team at RunAsOne for her first group training session in a long time!

On day one, Ruby knew this group was for her. She was relieved to interact with a group of like-minded people who share her love for running. Better yet, she came to quickly realise that the people around her cared for her goals as much as they do their own. Ruby now likens the group to a family, comparing this unconditional bond to the acceptance she has received from every individual in the group. Now comfortable with the role running is able to play in her life, Ruby is again confident to set training related goals. Previously competition focussed, these goals are now more closely associated with consistency, and subsequent wellbeing. Regardless, she does want to run fast again - and faster than she ever has before! As she sprinted home in the time trial to claim household line honours in a 75 second improvement from her first 5km trial, her coaches at RunAsOne received confirmation that she was going to give herself every opportunity to realise that goal!

Reflecting on her experiences so far, Ruby now finds herself in the important role of a potential mentor for other young female athletes making the often-complicated transition from Junior to Senior running and triathlon. She can offer the reassurance that the journey is a long one, and to not be afraid of doing as much or as little as you feel like doing at any point in your life. Ruby wants to encourage young girls to adopt the decision-making role that they are entitled to, and she wants to see young girls running for the love of it, and not because of external influences. While Ruby was lucky enough to experience love and support at home, she knew straight away that RunAsOne offered a specific support unique to any other. She would certainly recommend the group to runners at all stages of their running journey.