Cook was part of five North Queenslanders including athlete Cam Clayton who flew to Victoria for an 11 day training course.

The other four had taken part in the 2011 version of the course but Cook, having never been out of his home state, was new to the camp.

He said it took a while to adapt to the colder climate. "Cam didn't tell me it snowed here last week and I only looked up the Melbourne weather forecast," he said. "So it's been a shock experiencing the overnight negative degree temperature but one I have thoroughly enjoyed."

Joining Clayton and Cook on the journey is Australian representative athlete Bini Jones who recently finished 17th at the World Schools Cross Country.

For Clayton, the camp is opportunity for young athletes to take their preparation to the next level.

"The camp is something I host at the national altitude centre named the Freauf Village in Falls Creek where we are training 1900m above sea level," he said. "This is currently being ran during my annual leave to allow youth to experience opportunities that I wasn't able to experience myself growing up."

Among those already in the area are the Geelong Cats AFL team who leave on December 21.

A week after their training concludes Olympians such as Craig Mottram, Ryan Gregson, Youcef Abdi and former Olympians Steve Monegetti will roam the tracks.

Clayton said it is not uncommon for international competitors to use the facilities.

"Last year the Russian Olympic Cyclists stayed here for six months as part of their Olympic preparations while we were here much like other Triathletes that are currently completing National training gatherings" he said.

"Geelong's Joel Selwood who is one of AFL's star midfielders is one of my fellow competitors of the past. We use to race over 800m together at State titles as a teenager so it will be good to catch up with him and other footballers I played against during my time in the TAC development teams at Oakleigh Chargers."

On Saturday, Cook and Clayton will race over the 100m and 1500m at the Victorian Interclub Shield Competition.

He said he is already looking towards events happening in April. "I am using this training as preparations for the Easter weekend Stawell Gift competition were I will run over the 400, 800m and 3200m".

"Tom will use this as part of his continuing development as a umpire, soccer player and soon to be track and field athlete too."



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AFL Mount Isa 2015