I acknowledge my ancestors the Kuku Yalanji and the Birri Gubba people of far-north and central Queensland respectively.
I also acknowledge the Jagera people of south-east Queensland and the Queensland capital city of Brisbane.
I pay my respects to all First Nations elders, past, present and emerging.
I have very deep and strong ancestral and family ties to the state of Queensland because my grandmother and mother belong to the Kuku Yalanji people of the beautiful rainforest country of far-north Queensland. My father is a Burri Gubba man.
I was born in tropical Mackay, central Queensland, in 1973, however, my family and I resided in various places in Queensland, before eventually settling down in Brisbane in the late 1980s.
Having lived in Queensland for the first 17 years of my life, I have come to appreciate the way of living in both rural and remote, and urban settings.
Queensland gifted me a tremendous outdoor lifestyle, my love of participation in sport, as well as the distinct “Sunshine State” community spirit that is so obvious to today.
It was at the age of five when I first fell in love with running, and I was fortunate enough to be part of a strong school community who, like most Queenslanders, relished the joyful impact of sport.
I was a shy child with a raw running talent, however, I had a wild streak, and so the sense of calm I found in my running, was a god send.
I was 10 when my family and I moved from Mackay to a place named Hughenden in the desert region of far north-west Queensland.
The vast desert land with it’s wide, open skies and incredible red land was another perfect setting to cultivate my love of running.
I was living with my family in Brisbane as a 16-year-old when I made my first senior Australian National team competing at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand, and this achievement certainly was a sign of things to come.
Queensland has afforded me multiple major developmental points throughout my life, and without those early stages, I may never have realised my Olympic dream in 2000.