FLEXIBLE TALENT: Murray Goodwin is a Stawell Gift winner, P.E teacher and Commonwealth Games athlete.
FLEXIBLE TALENT: Murray Goodwin is a Stawell Gift winner, P.E teacher and Commonwealth Games athlete.

Goodwin is onto a good thing with long career-arc

AS a 400 metre sprinter, Murray Goodwin runs the most intricate single event in athletics.

Goodwin, a 31-year-old international debutant who ran Australia's opening leg in the 4x400m relay at the Commonwealth Games, had to draw from all three human energy systems to pass the baton on to his next team-mate in the quickest possible time.

In the 400m, the interplay of raw aerobic power, lactic acid output and aerobic energy is the most complex in athletics and, a little like Goodwin's professional life and sporting career, also the most balanced.

Commonwealth Games athlete and Varsity College teacher Murray Goodwin back at school with some kids including Austin Foat 8 (front). Pics Adam Head
LIFE LESSONS: Born in Tweed Heads, Murray Goodwin thought he'd never run for his country. Adam Head

Born in the Tweed Heads Hospital in 1987, Goodwin was a keen athlete in his youth. But when he reached university age, Goodwin opted for a teaching degree over the pursuit of a professional athletics career.

Goodwin managed to balance both teaching and high-level sport and in 2015 he won Australia's richest sprint, the Stawell Gift.

The taste of glory had Goodwin feeling he could one day represent Australia.

After winning the 400m national title in February, which sowed him up a spot in the Commonwealth Games athletics team, Goodwin put the finishing touches on a rare athletics story: the career in reverse.

Murray Goodwin
Murray Goodwin at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

"At the time I left school I didn't really feel like I had a solid pathway in front of me,” Goodwin said.

"But I always enjoyed my sport, hence why I took up a degree in teaching in that area.

"Now I'm fortunate enough to come back at a later age and not take anything for granted.

"I train every session like it is my last. A little bit of talent is handy, but I think, at this stage in my career, I have my work ethic right.”

Murray said it was only natural to sometimes ponder how things could have been if he had gone straight into athletics after high school.

But, as it turns out, his long-distance approach has been a gift.

"For me, thinking about heading back into my teaching it's a wonderful opportunity for me to share the experience with my students.

"It's a big thrill to have lived a life and to come back into sports at a later age.”

Goodwin ran a brilliant opening leg in last week's relay heat, as did the rest of his team, but due to a positioning failure on the last leg, the team was disqualified from the final.

Murray Goodwin
Murray Goodwin ran the opening leg of Australia's 4x400m relay at the Commonwealth Games.

But anything more than competing for his country would have been gravy for Goodwin, who has loved every minute of his Games journey.

"Coming back to the sport there was a lot of uncertainty, but it's been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I've grabbed on to every moment.”