It's fair to say Hawke's Bay runner Eric Speakman will tackle his next month of altitude training in the United States on a high.
Speakman, 26, will arrive in Flagstaff later today to begin his next stint two days after winning the 1500m title at the national championships in Hamilton. It was his first senior and third national title.
A Napier Harriers club member, Speakman stopped the clock at 3m 49.90s. Otago's Samuel Bremer was second in 3:51:44 and Aucklander Peter Wheeler third in 3:52:57.
"The time didn't matter. It was championship racing and I was just happy to get the win," Speakman said before he boarded his flight to the United States last night.
"I didn't plan on leading all the way from the start. The other guys had a real crack at me and Peter was in front for a little while but with 400m to go I went back in front and came home for the win."
On Saturday, Taradale High School product Speakman won bronze in his 800m final a day after placing third in his heat. He recorded a time of 1m 52.21s while Canterbury winner Brad Mathas clocked 1m 50.66s and Auckland second placegetter Michael Dawson finished in 1m 51.71s.
"That bronze was a good little bonus for me. I left my run a bit late in that one. I was fifth with 100m to go and managed to improve two places but it was too late for anything else," Speakman explained.
The 1500m is his priority event and he is hoping to qualify for this year's World Champs in London. The qualifying time is 3m 36.0s.
After a month in Flagstaff Speakman will return to sea level for a training stint in Michigan with Kiwi Olympian Nick Willis. Speakman's coach is Willis' brother Steve Willis but when Speakman is in the States, coach Willis is happy to hand over the mentoring reins to his brother's American coach, Ron Warhurst.
Speakman's next meeting will be in Iowa at the end of April. He will have two more in the States before heading to Europe.
"By the time I've finished those meets I will have hopefully qualified for London."
Last year the Heinz-Wattie's kitchen prep worker became the country's 39th sub-four-minute miler with a time of 3m 57.30s. His personal best time for the 1500, 3m 37.44s, was a tick of a second outside the Olympic A standard and Speakman's long-term goal is a starting spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Should he meet that qualifying mark for the London World Champs this will also qualify him for next year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Speakman was one of four Bay medal winners at the weekend. Georgia Hulls won gold in her under-20 400m final with a time of 55.87s and silver in her 200m final with a time of 24.28s.
Graeme Jones captured gold in the senior men's 20km race walk in 1h 41m 42s and Nick Palmer returned home with a silver medal from the under-20 shot put when he produced a 17.82m effort.
Karamu High School student Palmer will tackle the Australian championships this weekend and after recent events he shouldn't be lacking confidence. This month he broke the senior boys' shot put record at the East Coast Secondary School Championships in Hastings by more than 3m with a 19.17m throw.
The old record was 15.87m. This throw put him No 1 in Australasia on the under-18 rankings and No 2 on the world rankings behind a Cuban. However, he told supporters he wasn't getting too carried away with the world ranking because some talented Europeans had yet to have any throws recorded.
Palmer will compete in the under-20 and under-18 age groups at the Aussie champs.