Men’s laser run record set by Yarra Ranges teenager

Pointon started laser run and the modern pentathlon only three years ago. Picture: MIKAYLA VAN LOON.

A young Yarra Ranges athlete continues to make waves in the laser run but this time not in his own age category, setting a men’s record on the national stage.

Mitchell Pointon, 14, was recently crowned as the 2024 Australian Men’s Champion at the Laser Run National Championships held in Geelong on 14 April, setting a record for the fastest ever time by an Australian athlete in the current race format.

Just three years after trying his hand at the modern pentathlon, Pointon has gone on to compete at the world championships twice, first in Portugal in 2022 and then in England in 2023, as well as state and national tournaments.

Laser running is the final discipline of the Olympic sport of Modern Pentathlon and consists of running five individual 600m laps of a set course, each lap separated with a round of laser pistol shooting in which the athlete must achieve five successful hits of the target before being able to run again.

Striking the right balance between speed on the running course and consistent accuracy in shooting allows for the fastest overall race time.

Pointon, who trains for middle distance and cross-country running events under the guidance of esteemed Yarra Ranges Athletics coach Jamie Strudley, incorporates his laser pistol shooting into his regular training program allowing him to focus his attention on improvement of his running whilst working on shooting simultaneously.

It has been a fast development of Pointon’s ability in laser run, improving each tournament, setting a new personal best or record, as well as achieving new goals set for and by himself.

Pointon’s dad Jamie said competing in the men’s category was the most recent hurdle he’d wanted to achieve.

“Setting himself the challenge of competing in the senior men’s category at this year’s National Championships, Pointon focused hard on training to meet that goal since returning from the UK and can be very proud of what he has achieved at such a young age,” he said.

“To set a new Australian record is an impressive feat and to do so as a youth athlete makes that all the more special.”