SUNSHINE COAST MARATHON: Inspired by Moneghetti
MARATHON runner Steve Dinneen credits a heart-to-heart chat with Australian sporting legend Steve Moneghetti as the inspiration for believing he is capable of getting to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Dinneen, 34, started running competitively only six years ago, but Moneghetti had seen enough to declare him a strong chance of making his Olympic, Commonwealth Games and World Championship debuts in the next four years.
"I used to race Steve a lot and have grown to know him pretty well, and the good thing about Steve is that he shoots from the hip," Dinneen said.
"The big thing I spoke to him about was my age because I wanted to know if Rio and the Comm games were realistic goals.
"I wanted to know what selectors would think of me and if they would even consider having me in the Australian teams."
Moneghetti, who won gold in the marathon at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, told Dinneen that he was indeed young enough to warrant such dreams.
His recent results, which include a win at the Bridge to Brisbane, add further weight to his credentials after just missing out on qualifying for this year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
"Steve told me that I was working very hard and that, if anything, I probably raced too much," Dinneen said.
"He told me to cut back on the racing and work a little harder on the training.
"Having someone like Steve tell me I have what it takes to get to Rio and the Gold Coast gave me so much confidence.
"It has got me motivated to knuckle down over the next three years and do a little bit more and keep going."
Dinneen, a Melbourne osteopath, began running after suffering severe injuries while playing Australian rules football.
After hanging up his boots, he remembered something an old coach would say that used to spark him into action.
"I used to have a coach who always told me as a young bloke that if I wanted to, I was capable of running for Australia," Dinneen said.
"After breaking my sternum, wrist and shoulder I knew football wasn't for me anymore so I started running.
"I am just looking forward to getting up to the Coast and putting in a good performance."