Amongst the 1200 athletes who competed in the Australian Cross-Country Championships at Maleny Golf Club on the Sunshine Coast in late August was HMAS Albatross Gap Year participant SMN Dylan Holland.
While Albatross is not too far from 19 year-old SMN Holland’s home town of Shellharbour, since joining the Gap Year program he has travelled across Australia.
“One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Gap program for me so far has been the opportunity to tour around the country to each Navy base.
“It was a great to see how each one operates and what they have to offer at the base,” SMN Holland said.
“Travel was one of the things that attracted me to the Navy Gap Year program and it’s an opportunity only few get to experience.
“The Gap Year to me is sort of a ‘try before you buy’ kind of thing, where you only have to be in for twelve months and then you can decide to stay in or leave after the year.
“You also get to experience what all the different rates do on a day to day basis.”
SMN Holland said the gap year was a perfect opportunity, as he was unsure of what I wanted to do after leaving school.
“Going through Recruit School was a challenge as it’s work from as soon as you get up until you go to sleep but you soon get into the rhythm of the day.
“Because Navy encourages and supports fitness and health it’s been very easy to fit my training regime in with my work schedule,” he said.
SMN Holland has been competing in in cross country events since primary school.
“When I was 14, I made it as far as the State Championships in my first year of high school so started to take it more seriously.
“In the lead up to the Championships I do three hard sessions a week, which might be a fartlek, threshold run or hills and two easy runs of about 8 kilometres in 30-40 minutes.
“What I enjoy about cross-country is the physical fitness and challenge of it, to push yourself past your limits even when you want to stop.
“I also enjoy the friendships you make as you get to know your competitors quite well over the years of competing with each other.”
This is the fourth year SMN Holland has participated in the Australian Cross-Country Championships. This year he completed the eight kilometre course in 31 minutes, 41 seconds.