AFTER 30 years contributing to athletics in multiple roles, former long-distance runner and two-time Olympian, Shaun Creighton, has been recognised with a prestigious national award.
The Campbell man, 52, was recently presented the Athletics Australia Edwin Flack Award at the Australian Institute of Sport. Previous recipients include Robert de Castella, Catherine Freeman, Steve Moneghetti and Kerryn McCann.
The Edwin Flack Award, named in honour of Australia’s first Olympian and gold medallist, is presented annually to an Australian athlete who has rendered distinguished services to the sport of athletics.
“It’s nice to be recognised. It’s an honour,” says Shaun.
“As a kid I enjoyed all sports but running seemed to be what I was best at.
“I always loved it and would have been doing the same amount of running whether it was the Olympic team or a local Canberra team.”
Shaun represented Australia at two Olympic Games (1996 and 2000) and four Commonwealth Games (1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002), and was the Australian champion at four Olympic distances including the 3000m steeplechase and the 5000m and 10,000m marathon. He continues to hold the Australian 3000m steeplechase record 27 years after breaking it.
But Shaun’s contributions to the sport don’t end as an athlete, and in one role or another, he stayed part of the athletic community.
“I’ve remained heavily involved at a lot of different levels,” he says.
He held Australian team coach roles at the Commonwealth Games and World Cross Country Championships and has been a national selector for track and field, road and cross country events since 2012.
“The things I’ve done have always been through a love of sport as an athlete, as a coach and providing legal services,” says Shaun, who became a lawyer and used his skills to help athletes with non-selection appeals.
“I felt strongly about that because I missed out in 1992 after having a qualifying time and was always disappointed so helping athletes with non-selections was very important to me.”
Shaun, who is the partner director of Moulis Legal, fell in love with law towards the end of his running career, which saw him take a 10-year break from running.
“The decision to stop running wasn’t something I woke up one day and decided to do,” he says.
“I was working as a lawyer, I had a young kid, and all of a sudden there were other priorities in life and my fitness slowly started to decline.
“I gave up running for a bit. I got a bit fat and unfit. [And then one day] I went for a run with my wife and she was pushing the baby in a stroller and I really couldn’t keep up.”
That run with his wife was a turning point for Shaun and at the age of 50 he looked up the Australian men’s over 50 marathon record and set out to beat it.
It took him three times to beat it, but during brutal conditions in a Christchurch marathon last year, he finally took out the Australian men’s record for his age group by running 2:30:29 in 42.4km.
“The marathon was probably the record that meant the most to me,” he says.
“It took the most goes and was the toughest one to get.”
Even though it was a milestone for Shaun, he doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon and has his eye on breaking the record for a 50km marathon.