Phoenix Douglass racing for gold in new Little Athletics season

BORN TO RUN: Phoenix Douglass has a genuine passion for the sport, father Kieron says.

BORN TO RUN: Phoenix Douglass has a genuine passion for the sport, father Kieron says.

HAVING raced his way through his first year in Little Athletics undefeated in three events, Victoria Point State School student Phoenix Douglass is heading into the new season ready and raring to go.

He is one of many young athletes who will compete during the summer season, with Redlands Athletics' second sign-on event being held on August 17.

Phoenix started Little Athletics in 2018 in the under 8s, making it through the entire season undefeated in the 100, 200 and 400 metre sprints at a club level. He also set a club record in the 700 metre event.

Now eight years old, Phoenix will be competing in the under 9s and is eyeing off a spot at the McDonald's State Championships in March.

He hopes to one day make it to the Olympics to race for gold, following in the footsteps of Little Athletics alumni including hurdler Sally Pearson, pole vaulter Steve Hooker and Paralympic sprinter and long jump champion Amy Winters.

Father Kieron Douglass - an ultra-runner and motivational speaker - said Phoenix had been born to run.

"As a baby you could never keep Phoenix's legs still," he said.

"He was always moving his legs like he was running."

When Phoenix was about four years old, he began running laps around the yard.

"It just turned out that Phoenix genuinely loved to run," Mr Douglass said.

"I guess it wasn't until Phoenix started school that we realised how much he actually loved to run. His older sister Sierra would come home from school and tell us that all the older kids would challenge Phoenix to a running races during lunch times and Phoenix was beating them all.

"That's when we knew that when he reached the age of seven, we had to sign him up to Little Athletics."

Phoenix's love for running became stronger last month after he met long-distance runner Steve Moneghetti and former world champion marathon runner Robert De Castella at the Gold Coast Marathon.

"Like Phoenix does when he gets excited, he (produced) this infectious smile that goes from one ear to the other," Mr Douglass said.

Phoenix does not have to look far to find sporting mentors - his father and older sister Sierra, 11, are formidable long distance runners, while mother Melanie is a former netball player.

He is also a distant relative of four-time Olympic medallist and British politician Sebastian Coe.

Mr Douglass said one of Phoenix's most important sporting attributes was his humility.

"He doesn't brag or show off when he wins races," he said.

"He will always congratulate his opponents and shake their hands or he will pat them on the back and say good work."

Age group marshall Adam Kratzmann said Phoenix loved to compete.

"He's a pleasure to work with as he listens, puts into practice what's been taught and has great manners," he said.

Redlands Athletics will hold a sign-on day on Saturday from 11am until 3pm at the clubhouse at Cleveland District State High School.