A world-class season of running thus far from Patrick Tiernan was triggered by a disappointing performance at the Rio Olympics last year and now his mindset on the track is much more simple and aggressive.
The 22-year-old has set personal bests over 3000m, 5000m and 10,000m so far in 2017 and has rocketed up the Australian all-time rankings in the process, but fast times have not been a major concern.
“My race in Rio was a huge turning point for me as an athlete,” Tiernan said from Paris ahead of the Diamond League meeting this weekend.
“I was pretty disappointed with my result there, and I think since then I've just been in a much more competitive frame of mind when it comes to international racing.
“Rather than having a certain time or place in mind going into a race, I now just approach every race knowing I've got a chance to win it, and that becomes my goal every time I toe the line.”
Tiernan will compete in the 3000m in the French capital only a few weeks after giving his best to the indestructible Mo Farah over the same distance in Kingston, Jamaica.
He boldly took the lead with more than a lap to go and challenged the four-time Olympic champion to work off the last bend before hitting the line behind the Brit in 7:41.26, lifting him up to fifth on the Australian record list.
Up against Kenyan world leader Ronald Kwemoi, who ran 7:28.73 in Doha, and a very fast field, Tiernan is a good chance of becoming just the third Australian to dip under 7:40 in Paris, joining national record holder Craig Mottram and Collis Birmingham.
“I'm not going into this with a time goal,” he said.
“A PB would be nice, and I'm confident there will be a quick pace set, but I'll be prepared if there's not.
“I'm just going into it like any other race, giving myself the best chance I can to win it.”
The season started with an impressive 13th-place finish at the world cross country championships in Kampala, with his victory at the Stanford Invitational over 10,000m his most satisfying run since the Games.
“I'd have to say Payton Jordan has been my best result so far this year,” he said.
“I just went into that race trying to win it, and came out with a big personal best alongside the win, which proved to me that I really can compete at the highest level in this sport.
“I've got a lot of respect for guys like Mo Ahmed and Shadrack Kipchirchir who I've been fortunate enough to race a number of times, so to get the better of them on that night was a big achievement for me.”
Tiernan’s results, which have also included a 13:13.44 performance over 5000m at the Eugene meeting, have caught the eye of many including a tip of the hat on twitter from running legend Steve Moneghetti.
“It's obviously a good feeling to get some recognition for your results, but at the end of the day, my goal is to get the best possible performance out of myself at world champs in August, so I'm just keeping a level head leading into that.
“It was a good result I had in Jamaica, but I'd really love to go one better (in Paris).
Other Aussies in action at the Stade Charléty
Linden Hall - 4:04.37 SB
Linden had a difficult start to the 2017 domestic season, but has since qualified for the world championships with a season’s best over 1500m in Portland earlier this month.
Sifan Hassan will be the red-hot favourite in the race in Paris following a pair of wins over 1500m this season in 3:56.22 to win in Rome and then a 3:56.14 at the FBK Games in Hengelo.
Five women in the field have previously run under four minutes.
Hamish Peacock - 84.36m SB
Peacock has a season’s best in the javelin just three centimetres off his personal best and will be looking to recapture his domestic form as he continues preparations for the world championships in London.
The Tasmanian will again come up against a quality entry list including German world leader Thomas Rohler who started his season with a huge 93.90m throw in Doha.