Parkes marathon runner, Scott Westcott has finally learned of his selection for the Rio Olympics after a tense wait of more than two weeks.
He has waited almost 16 years for his chance and at more than 40 years of age, becomes the oldest ever Australian to make his debut at an Olympics.
By chance, Scott was in Parkes yesterday planning for the Northparkes-Rotary Fun Run and said he still can’t believe it.
“It has been a dream since I was 15, 16 years old, running around the farm at Alectown.”
The road to Rio 2016 is long for all athletes, but Scott has literally run to Brazil and back several times over in his determination to wear the green and gold at the Olympic Games.
The places on the men’s marathon start line were confirmed at 2pm yesterday for Scott, and Liam Adams (VIC) and Michael Shelley (QLD).
Scott’s is a remarkable story of persistence.
He will become Australia’s oldest athletics competitor to make his Games debut when he takes the Rio starting line at the age of 40 years and 331 days.
His performance in the Berlin Marathon in October 2015 was enough to secure a spot for the father of three, who has been chasing his Olympic dream since the 90s.
“I still can’t believe it,” the now-Newcastle runner said.
“My dream began when I was 16, I had run qualifying times for three Olympic Games back since Sydney 2000, and for some reason my attempts to retire from competitive running in 2013 were only half hearted.
“Something kept me going.”
Scott said having hunger and wonderful coaches over the years is the secret to his selection at 40.
“Having hunger and desire are essential,” he explained.
“No doubt all athletes on the Australian Olympic team have this. I believe I have kept my hunger burning for close to 20 years.
“The secret physically is having a series of wonderful coaches who all worked together in building an athlete rather than flogging one.
“I am proud beyond words to represent all the people who have helped me along the long road I have taken. Special mention to my late Dad, Lawrie who passed away in late 2014.”
Scott is confident he is on track for a top performance in Rio.
“I am probably in the best head space of my career,” he said.
“Training is going well and not having just completed a marathon in early 2016 means I am fresh and ready to go.
“I believe I can lower the Australian Masters record I set last year in Berlin of 2:15:30.
“I will prepare as smart as I can and run myself into a peak for August 21. Bring it on!”
Scott will be the third oldest athletics competitor to wear the green and gold at the Olympics behind 50km walker Willia Sawall (42 yrs 270 days) and marathon runner Susan Hobson (42 yrs 200 days).
The Rio marathons will start and finish at the famous Sambódromo, the legendary home of the Rio Carnival parade, with a loop course near the edge of Guanabara Bay.
The men’s race will be held on the final morning of the Games, Sunday August 21.