Western suburbs star Luke Mathews has become the first runner since Nick Bromley over a decade ago to claim three consecutive Australian national 800-metre titles.
Mathews, a product of the Altona and Werribee little athletics centres, won in a runaway time of 1:45.90 at Carrara Stadium on Saturday night to stamp his ticket to this year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
The 22-year-old was somewhat casual in the first half of his race, keeping pace with the leaders.
But Mathews came home like a freight train in the second half of the race to win in a canter.
“I think as a [experienced] 1500m runner, naturally my second half or last 250m is stronger,” Mathews said after the race.
“To be honest with you, the last two years I’ve gone with 250m to go, so this year I thought I’d do the same and I felt stronger than last year and stronger than 2016 and pretty much back-to-back 1.45s, I’m happy.”
Mathews was ecstatic to seal his place in Australia’s Commonwealth Games team.
He will do so as an 800m runner, but could he also pull on the green and gold in the 1500m?
“If the selectors are here, I’m hoping to get picked for the 1500m too,” he said.
“If I just do the 800m, either way I’m going to be running in this gorgeous stadium in 50 days time.”
Mathews, born and raised in Williamstown, is well supported by his new coach, mum Liz.
Liz was his coach and mentor in the formative years of his athletics career.