“My Dad used to say playing cards with me was hell because everything was a competition. I don't handle losing well,” says Australian track star Gen Lacaze. “In the past people have asked 'are you competitive on and off the track?’ and I'd be like ‘no, when I'm on the track I'm beast mode and when I'm off, I'm a friendly lovable person', but I have three brothers and they'll all disagree,” she says with a laugh.

Behind her smiling face and outsized personality, it’s hard to believe Lacaze has an alter ego; a caged ‘beast mode’ prowling about waiting for an opportunity to pounce. But stop for a moment and consider the nature of her event – the 3000m steeplechase – and you’ll understand this isn’t an event for just any casual runner. 

“A lot of it does come down to determination and toughness,” says Lacaze. “I'm extremely tough when it comes to racing and going up against my competitors. In this sport, if you're a person who just wants to float around in your comfort zone, you're never gonna get far. I'd say that distance running is all about testing your limits and really pushing beyond what the human body wants to do. I've definitely found over the years you don't really know your limit.”

“To run 7 and a half laps over water barriers and hurdles, it's not easy. You’ve got to approach every race with no hesitation whatsoever. You can't have an ounce of doubt in your mind."