8 Tips for Junior Runners

August 17, 2018

Charlie Arnott is just 13 years old but for two years running, she’s won the Open Division, Female category in the 3km Pub2Pub event from Mona Vale to Newport and is the current defending Champ.

When asked what motivates her to run, Charlie’s mum Jen answers: “She just genuinely loves being fit and leading a healthy lifestyle.”

Apparently her love for running started during Cross Country events at school. Charlie and her friends used to just walk the course together, but one year Charlie decided she was going to run instead. Without any training in the lead up to the race, she won it and decided then and there that this was something she loved doing.

For a 13 year old, you’d have to say Charlie is something of a serious athlete. She trains three times a week with husband and wife coaching team Caroline Yarnell and Tony Wong of ‘Run C&T’. Caroline and Tony are members of the long established ‘Sydney Striders’ – one of Australia’s original and most successful running clubs. Caroline herself is running in this year’s Pub2Pub and encouraging all Run C&T members to enter.

For all we know, Charlie could be a future Olympian. Apart from her Pub2Pub successes since the age of 11, this year she’s also set the fastest time (19.13) for the under 14 female age group in the 5km Curl Curl Park Run; she was the outright winner (all ages) of the 3km Cliffside Run at Long Reef back in March; and she has just qualified for the first time to represent Athletics NSW in the Australian Under 14 Girls Cross Country Championship to be held in Queensland later this month.

Asked about the reasons for her daughter’s success, Jen said: “Basically she wants more out of life than just hanging at the Mall. She gains her social interaction from her running group, just loving the social side of running. That’s the main thing for Charlie – running is fun!

“Charlie keeps working to achieve and better herself. She has a will to win like no other and she constantly strives to keep improving. But the main tip she’d like to pass on to other young girls is that running and being fit and healthy simply feels good (though she admits the occasional Nutella and strawberry crepe does too!).”

Here are here are 8 tips from Charlie’s running coaches at Run C&T:

  1. Do your homework before the race by studying the course.
  2. Visualise the event and work out your tactics.
  3. Taper off training a few days before to make sure you are fresh on race day.
  4. Pack your racing outfit and shoes the night before so there is no panic on race morning.
  5. Plan your eating. If it is a morning event, breakfast needs to be two hours before.
  6. Make sure you do your normal warm up and be away from people if you need to be.
  7. Be prepared for any eventuality – e.g. weather, conditions underfoot, etc. And don’t panic… it’s the same for everyone in your race.
  8. Make sure you eat something within an hour of finishing, to aid recovery.


Jackson Wheeler turned 10 years old just yesterday… (Happy Birthday from the Pub2Pub Team Jackson!). In last year’s Pub2Pub, Jackson was the fastest male runner in the Under 10s Division of the 3km event.

Jackson loves outdoor sport in general, from running in the Cross Country event at school to playing soccer and also rugby league for the famous Mona Vale Raiders (the club that produced the Trbojevic brothers – Sea Eagles Jake and Tom and younger brothers Luke and Ben).

Jackson loved the experience of running in the 3km Pub2Pub last year and is devastated that a long planned family holiday in the snow will prevent him from defending his title this year. “He’s really disappointed,” says mum Shonagh, “… but it couldn’t be helped. The good news is, he’s already planning to tackle the 6km Pub2Pub course in 2019. Don’t worry… he’ll be back.”

 When asked what advice he’d give to other youngsters getting ready for this year’s Pub2Pub, Shonagh replied: “I’m sure Jacko’s advice would be to simply have fun. He doesn’t do any excessive training before running races, but he’s always running in his training for soccer and league… cross-training if you like. He just loves being outdoors and being fit and healthy. That’s the way he wants to lead his life.”

So it seems there’s a recurring theme from both our young Champs:

  • Embrace a healthy, active lifestyle
  • Run for Fun
  • Get outdoors, away from your screens and out into the scenery

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