Middle distance star Jessica Hull will use a stunning performance in the rain as a springboard for a return to elite competition.
Contesting a virtual 3000 metre event on Sunday night, the Albion Park product produced an unofficial time of 8:41.8, just three seconds shy of the Australian record.
The performance was made all the more impressive by the atrocious conditions that greeted the athletes in Bankstown, with driving rain falling throughout the race.
Fellow Illawarra talent Chloe Tighe was second with a time of 8:54.9.
The event marked Hull's first race since the end of February, with the US-based athlete forced to return home due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.
With a number of meets scheduled in Europe throughout the coming months, the 23-year-old is preparing to take on the world's best.
"This is a good event to get under my belt," Hull said. "I'm lucky enough to get to Europe in August to do some racing, so this was my tuneup for that.
"Returning to racing is a bit of a shock to the system, the first one always stings. We've been waiting for so long, when it gets hard, it's good to remember it's meant to be hard and this is what we've been waiting for."
While coronavirus cases in Europe remain higher than Australia, Hull is not concerned about the risk of contracting the illness during her time overseas.
Her coach Pete Julian has, however, made sure his athletes are well aware of their responsibility to stay safe throughout their travels.
"We had a team meeting via Zoom and Pete laid the foundation," Hull said. "We're not on a holiday. This trip is even more a business trip than usual, there will be no sightseeing.
"We'll have a small bubble, just the six athletes plus Pete and our strength and conditioning coach.
"In terms of training, I know I'm ready to race. That takes out the nerves in terms of my performance. I know I've done the work, I'm fit and healthy.
"I have a lot of trust in the people around me. My coach and strength and conditioning coach have all done everything they can to make sure everywhere we're going is safe and we're not doing anything that is high risk.
"They wouldn't ask me to go somewhere dangerous to put me at bigger risk of contracting the virus. I'm lucky the team around me makes the big calls, I just show up and race."
Bulli product Ryan Gregson has also contested the virtual 3000m race, an event that has attracted entries from some of Australia's top middle distance runners.
Like Hull, the 1500m specialist was greeted by horrendous conditions for his effort, though he was racing in Brisbane on Saturday.
Despite the rain, Gregson ran a time of 7:47.22, to sit third on the men's standings behind Stewart McSweyn and Matt Ramsden.
Hull leads the women's pack, with Tighe currently second. Entrants must complete their race by the end of the month to qualify for a piece of the $6980 (US$5000) prize pool.