Leonora-raised Winter Olympian Kiara Reddingius made a low-key return to competitive athletics at the 140th running of Australia’s richest footrace during the Easter long weekend, the Stawell Gift.
Competing off a 5m handicap, Reddingius — a former nationally-ranked heptathlete — clocked 13.947 seconds to finish second in her women’s 120m heat on Saturday.
But among a talent-laden and race-conditioned field, she bowed out of contention for the overall women’s crown by finishing fifth in Monday’s semifinal.
Outright spoils went to Queensland track runner Carla Bull, who clocked 13.77secs. off a 6m handicap to beat Clare de Salis and Mia Gross in Monday’s final.
Harrison Kerr, off a mark of 9.25m, won the men’s event in a blistering 11.85secs.
Frustrated by injuries, Reddingius gave up athletics last year to concentrate on winter sports.
The move paid off just months later when she teamed with Bree Walker in the two-woman bobsleigh at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Reddingius said returning to track running was a gradual process after bulking up for the rigours of bobsleigh competition.
“I won’t be able to go back to the heptathlon (because) you have to be a much lighter athlete,” she said.
“In bobsleigh, you have to be quite heavy and very strong.
“It’s a gravity sport, so the heavier you are, the faster you’ll go down the track but the sprint component is only 30 or 40m.”
Reddingius is a patron for the annual Leonora Golden Gift that takes place during the June long weekend, and has competed every year since its 2003 inception.