Jack Hale literally started from the bottom, geographically speaking anyway. The fastest boy in the country is a product of Tasmania; the island state founded by convicts and controversially left off the Australian map at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. ‘Tassie’ is usually best known for an extinct animal, a Looney Tunes character and also for being the home of Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect. Coming from Tasmania myself I know a lot of people are very quick to laugh at Jack's homeland, but he's quicker.
16-year-old Hale exploded onto the athletics scene last September when he ran 10.44 to set a new national under -18 record for the 100m and would later improve that mark to 10.42. He would then run a stunning 10.13 at the national Under 18 All Schools Championships in Adelaide, however a powerful tailwind would mean he could not claim this as a new record.
Now that the dust Jack’s Road Runner feet flicked up is settling, his efforts have left many people standing dumbfounded like Wile E. Coyote and asking themselves, ‘Where the hell did that come from?’
Up until 2014 Hale had been a specialist long jumper, starting his career with the Claremont little athletics club. He also had a strong soccer and futsal background. If you have ever visited Claremont you will know that you are sometimes required to run very fast, but apart from this Hale was by no means regarded as a sprinter yet.
Although Hale’s talent went public after his record breaking 10.44 , it was at a mere, small school meet where it was first discovered.
Jack was competing with his classmates at the St. Virgil’s College athletics carnival. St. Virgil’s is a proud all boys sporting school, which has also produced the likes of Olympic champion rower Scott Brennan and Richmond Coleman medallist Jack Riewoldt.
Athletics Tasmania’s state team manager, Rosemary Coleman, who also happens to work at the school said it was here that Jack ran a handheld time of 10.23. Although of course nobody believed her, except for those who were there to witness the feat.
However it wouldn’t be long before Coleman would get to tell a lot of people a very deserved ‘I told you so.’ Footage of Hale’s record breaking run last September went viral, along with his amazing anchoring leg in his St. Virgil’s team's 4x100m relay which can be seen below.
If Hale ‘started from the bottom’ then the ‘now we’re here’ moment will come in South America. Australia’s fastest boy is headed to Colombia where he will represent Australia at the IAAF World Youth Championships in July. It will be next chapter in a career which many athletics fans are watching with great curiosity and interest. After all, it is not often Australians get to cheer for one of their own in the blue riband event.
I doubt Tasmania will be left off the map this time.