LAUNCESTON runner Abbey de la Motte would love to do well in today's Burnie Gift but is running with an eye on the senior national track and field championships in Melbourne in April.
The 19-year-old, 400-metre specialist, has had a later start to her athletics season this year but knows that the carnivals will be good preparation for her upcoming track season.
De la Motte won the Devonport 400m in 2011 and came second in the Latrobe Gift the same year but missed out on running the carnivals last year due to injury.
"I think running in the Devonport carnival in the 400m and 200m and in the Burnie Gift will be a good introduction for me and I do think I'm a bit stronger than I was last year and the year before that, so I'm taking that as a positive," she said.
"I haven't run a short gift distance over 120m, which is what Burnie Gift is, in a couple of years so it is a bit hard to know what your chances are but that's one I'm hoping to do well in."
The Peter Fortune-trained runner has been training for a couple of months and competing over the last month.
"I'm hoping these carnivals will kick-start my competition more or less into 2014," she said.
"The nationals 400m in April is the main goal for me and there will be quite a few competitions in the lead-up to that.
"I will be hoping to get into a couple of the Australian track classics which are held in each state and my first one I think will be the Hunter Classic in Newcastle in January.
"I still have to run a couple of times before I can nominate to go in those and apart from that there will be the Melbourne World Challenge hopefully and maybe a Brisbane state championship and I will just try to use every comp I can really to aim for the nationals in April."
Her greatest track achievement was winning the national under- 20, 400m, in March this year and she ran a personal best time of 53.9 in the world junior championships in Barcelona in 2012.
"Last year I was a bit stop and go with injury but I still managed to pull out a gold medal at nationals which was really a highlight for me," she said.
"I'm hoping to do well again this year but it will be difficult because the competition is a lot tougher in senior ranks but I'm willing to work hard and try my best to get in the top five or six.
"That will be a really big aim for me to get into the Commonwealth Games relay and that's what I'm ultimately aiming for."