Albion Park's Olympic runner Jessica Hull is in the midst of a tough training regime that she hopes will lift her to greatness come mid-2024 in Paris.
As 2023 comes to a close, Hull said that the year had left her hungry for what lay ahead.
The 27-year-old made history by smashing her Australian mile record in the Diamond League in Monaco with a jaw-dropping time of 4:15.34 which saw her meet the qualifying time for the Paris Olympics in July and August next year. It was the eighth-fastest time recorded ever in a women's mile race.
Later in the year she finished fifth at the World Athletics Championships in Latvia. It was Hull's fourth successive top-10 effort at a major global competition in 2023.
But all that is now behind her and Hull said she was preparing for the biggest challenge of her career to date - Paris 2024.
She sat down with the Mercury to chat all things running.
Preparation for Paris
"We're eight months out from the finals which is pretty crazy," Hull said.
"It's going to go really quick that's for sure. But I feel good and I'm in a great spot for this time of year. My pre-season has gone as good as it could have and it's gone a lot better than the last few years.
"I haven't missed any time in this off season which in the last three season I feel like I have missed a little bit of chunks with some niggles or coming off the Olympics in 2021 was a very different pre-season, so this has been really good.
"It's been really smooth and just working hard. I'm on the grind, it's been pretty tough. I haven't quite turned that corner yet where you start to feel energized by what you're doing. I'm kind of in that bit of the really hard work where you feel like you're walking around like a bit of a zombie.
"But I know that I'm not far away from it and I think in the next week or two I'm going to come out the other side and start to be feeling really good with what I'm doing."
Hull said that her performances in 2023 had left her 'hungry' for what's to come in the near future.
"It sort of put me back on track to see where I know I can be which is really exciting. It's definitely left me hungry," she said.
"I got the result at the World Championships that I wanted and I've been working for. From what I'm sort of seeing from the women racing overseas, 29, 30, 31 seems to be the absolute peak of the 1500 right now. So I'm still chipping away towards that and I've got time on my side."
What events before Paris?
Whilst the Olympics will be fast upon Hull and all competitors, she still has a bit to do in the lead-in to the Games.
"So everything in terms of being selected and qualified it comes down to the National Championships," Hull continued.
"So the moment they're saying the winner of that race they'll be selected and then there's two remaining spots to be added at a later date. Obviously I want to spare it (an Olympic spot) away and have it known.
"So that's the big goal in the first half of the year to get that qualifier. Along to way I'm going to go over and do a mini indoor circuit in February and do two to three races. The way the 1500 has levelled up, I think I need to go and race these women as much as I can and learn as much as I can.
"So I'll head over to that and hopefully run in the World Indoor Championships in Glascow in the first week of March and then come back here six weeks out from nationals and just really keep on doing everything I can do to perform well at nationals and hopefully lock that selection away.
"Then from there the Diamond League season begins. So it'll be an early start overseas again this year. Probably looking at late April departing Australia and then from there, May, June, July all just flies once you get overseas and you get among the energy of the European season. We'll be in Paris before we know it."
Hull's inspirations and goals for the Olympics
In her record breaking feat in the mile in the Diamond League earlier this year Hull finished behind a couple of other record breakers in Kenyan sensation Faith Kipyegon as well as Laura Muir, who eclipsed the British mark in 4:15.24.
Hull said Muir was someone she really admired.
"Someone I look up to massively in this sport is Laura Muir. She's a British 1500 metre superstar and I just love the way she races and puts herself in it," she said.
"She's been so close so many times and in Tokyo she got her first medal. She's continued to medal since then and I think that kind of keeps that dream alive. I've never beaten her. It's not a rivalry but sort of looking up to someone that has done what I'm trying to do."
Hull also gave insight into some of her goals for 2024.
"I've made three global finals back-to-back-to-back now. There's maybe four or five of us that have done that. So to make my fourth global final in a row is definitely the goal," Hull added.
"I think I've been seventh in the last two majors and I want to be higher. I want to be running for a medal and walk off the track and know I gave it everything I could to make it happen."
Aquathon ambassador role
With all this on her plate Hull was recently announced as one of three ambassadors for the Wollongong Aquathon event on Australia Day in North Wollongong along with former elite triathlete Nathan Breen and Wollongong AFL captain Lauren Myers.
Hull turned heads earlier this year when she ran in the event with family friend Zoe Bayo. Now this year she will be headlining the event in her ambassador role.
"When [event director] Rob [Battocchio], asked me to do the ambassadorship for it this year I was pretty stoked," she added.
"I look back to when people that influenced me as a junior and I know I wouldn't be where I am if they hadn't given me some time. So to kind of be in that position to give back to the local community and the juniors coming through, it's really special and it's not lost on me how much it could mean to someone along the way.
"You never quite know what impact you're having."