Ararat sprint coach shows proteges how it’s done in Terang Gift
By JUSTINE McCULLAGH-BEASY
Dec. 2, 2013
ARARAT runner Marcus Cooper’s coaching mantra is to lead by example.
He backed it up on Sunday by winning his first Terang Gift.
Cooper, 41, claimed the 120-metre sprint in 12.59 seconds.
Rhys Parkinson (12.73) and Cam Dunbar (12.74) filled the minor placings.
Cooper posted the fastest semi-final time — 12.70 — and bettered that performance in the final.
“I felt fantastic today, everything clicked, everything worked,” he said.
“I didn’t have the best week of training so I am pretty happy to get up this week.
“Work’s been pretty busy so I was a bit worried about how I was going to go today but after my heat I thought ‘I’m running alright, I don’t have to worry, I’ll just go out and do it’.”
Cooper ran off 12.50 metres and was pleased with his start.
Parkinson’s handicap was 8.25m and Dunbar off 7.25.
“I heard that gun go, pinned the ears back and I was just going,” he said.
“I hit the front early and I wasn’t slowing down. I was confident and once I got half way I thought ‘I’m going alright’.
“I thought I had a little bit left (in the tank) too, which I was pretty happy with.”
Cooper is a running coach and two of his ‘Coop’s Stable’ athletes — Fraser Heard and Tiffany Boatman — won races at the Warrnambool and Terang gifts.
“I really do love coaching, I get a lot out of coaching,” he said.
“I always say I am trying to show them by example.
“I do love winning. I am still competitive at 41 so pretty happy.”
One of Cooper’s former students is Essendon speedster Lauchlan Dalgleish.
Dalgleish won the 2011 Gift in 12.25 seconds and was drafted to the Bombers via the rookie draft the following month.
The Ararat export made his AFL debut in round 21 last season and was elevated to Essendon’s senior list.
Cooper said it was nice to join Dalgleish on the Terang Gift honour roll after finishing second behind Jay Blake in 2012.
“I won the 70 metres that day and he won the Gift,” he said.
“I was hoping he’d win because we were trying to get him up on the Essendon list.
“He is playing so well. I’m very proud of him.”
Cooper, who finished fourth in the 200m final at the 2012 Stawell Gift, said Terang was the ideal way to start the Victorian Athletic League season.
“I’ll definitely be back. This is virtually our launching pad every year,” he said.
“We love coming here and have been for years and we’ll keep coming back.
“It is always a nice Gift. It’s always good to give the young guys their first run here.
“It is not too busy, it’s just a nice Gift and it’s very competitive.”
Pomborneit export and AFL umpire Adam Coote was fourth in 12.82, while 2012 Stawell Gift winner Matthew Wiltshire, of Ballarat, failed to win through to the final.