Walking together — Claire and Jared Tallent
It’s a very crisp early Canberra morning, and the temperature is still close to the overnight low of minus 5. We catch up with husband and wife walkers Claire and Jared Tallent, and their coach Brent Vallance, on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, where they have just completed their 12km training walk.
A crew from Channel Seven’s Sunrise is also here to interview them. Naturally there is interest in the fact that Australia’s 20km race walking champions are also married. Presently, both are on scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). Claire rejoined the AIS program in 2006 alongside Jared. Jared is a dual Olympic medallist (bronze and silver respectively in the 20km and 50km race walks in Beijing), while Claire secured silver at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Jared’s dual Olympic medal win was the first for athletics since 1972.
Jared and Claire repeat training schedule s similar to this, week after week, then both head off to work, Jared with a local financial planner and Claire in a government department. Jared also works as a tour guide at the AIS. Being based in Canberra, both Jared and Claire are often called on to support sports promotion activities, with both of them attending a recent event promoting sport and physical activities to Australia’s primary school children, through the Prime Minister’s Olympic and Paralympic Challenges.
The 2011 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, saw Jared ride a see-saw of success. He fell considerably short of expectation in the 20km event when he finished 27th. However, Jared proved to have the mental stamina that saw him finish 3rd in the 50km event. Jared credits this success to the coaching of Vallance, the nutritional support of the AIS lead nutritionist Dr Louise Burke, and advice from Athletics Australia’s Stan Garland. The integrated approach that is part of the AIS’s success extends beyond the confines of Canberra to the competitive world stage.
Both Jared and Claire look lean, strong and well prepared on their approach to London. On the basis of his dual medal win in Beijing, Australia will be hopeful that Jared can snare gold in London. He certainly has the physical and mental ability. Claire has also performed well after her silver performance in Dehli. Together they are bound to do the AIS and Australia proud.