Altona athlete Jack Rayner is on track for world domination, after taking down US Olympic gold medallist Matthew Centrowitz at the Payton Jordan last year, and more recently the Ugandans and Kenyans in Cardiff.
As our home-grown athletics superstar continues to break records and personal bests, he also continues to make headlines around the world, with particular attention shown to his baby-face and blonde moustache.
“I don’t really know how it started to be honest, I just didn’t like shaving very often then stuck with the Mo. I think it’s been two years now. My girlfriend hates it. I should probably do Movember this year,” he said.
It is a look that has had the world media draw comparisons to Steve Prefontaine – a US runner who once held the record in every long-distance event – a comparison Jack Rayner is happy to take on board.
“I’ve heard that a bunch of times, yes. I see a little bit of resemblance, but not too much. I guess he’s not a bad person to be compared to,” he said.
On facial hair alone, it might appear the local lad who was once a rising star of Altona Little Athletics Club is now all grown up and sporting success under the wings of Western Athletics and Melbourne Track Club but being a career athlete was not always on the cards.
“I had no idea what I wanted to do. I just enjoyed running ever since I started. I had some early success in Little Athletics winning a couple of state titles and a few medals on the track, but I was never able to finish races very fast when I was younger,” he said.
“I started to develop some speed when I was around 17 and I’ve gradually got a little faster. So now at the end of the race I think I can change gears a little quicker than most people and out kick them in the latter stages of a race.”
In transitioning to his new life as a full-time travelling athlete, Jack Rayner has out kicked his competition in Albert Park, Sydney, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cardiff, and whilst he is keen to explore other parts of the world, he still loves a run around Altona.
“I had my first season overseas last year and absolutely loved it, so I found the transition quite easy. Some of my favourite places to run besides Altona of course would be at Portsea in Victoria, around the Tan in Melbourne and Bushy Park in London,” he said.
“This summer our group will head up to Falls Creek in November to prepare for Zatopek in December. I would love to qualify for World champs next year. Still not sure which event I will aim for. After that, the big goal will be Tokyo 2020.”
It is a goal that had not always been top of mind for the former lifeguard and landscape gardener, but for Altona athlete and former Williamstown High School student Jack Rayner, it is a goal that will no doubt fuel continued success as the world awaits him.