Gold Coast’s first to fourth-year players returned for pre-season training on Monday, starting with a 2km time trial in humid conditions.
Twenty players took part in the run which was held at Griffith University, the club’s official research and education partner.
The SUNS’ time trial king Josh Schoenfeld held onto his crown, finishing comfortably in first.
Running in second was rookie Jacob Dawson, followed by defender Jesse Joyce.
Midfielder Jack Bowes was close behind in his slipstream, finishing in fourth place in a much-improved run from last pre-season.
New recruit Connor Budarick proved he has the endurance to match it with the best, beating out his more experienced teammates to round out the top five.
Of the top five, Dawson and Bowes were two of the biggest improvers from last year.
Outside of the top five, Charlie Ballard (sixth) set a quick pace and ran a personal best, shaving significant time off his 2018 run.
Ben Ainsworth was another who improved on last year’s time and finished in seventh place.
Several older players returned earlier than scheduled, including vice-captain Touk Miller who ran the time trial and skipper David Swallow, Sam Day, Sean Lemmens and Jordan Murdoch who trained.
Three pace runners from Gold Coast Run Co. joined the boys for the time trial and were scattered amongst the field to help set certain time benchmarks.
The entire squad will run another 2km time trial when the five-year and above players return in two weeks.