Melissa Breen will take on the men in the Stawell Gift. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
Three years ago, Canberra sprint queen Melissa Breen declared she wouldn't run in the men's Stawell Gift again until she was in better shape – after becoming the fastest-ever Australian woman earlier this year, that time has come as she is in the best shape of her life.
Breen will attempt to become the first woman to make the semi-finals of the prestigious Gift when she competes against the men for the second time in her young career over the Easter weekend.
But the 23-year-old's main focus is reclaiming her Australian 100-metre sprint crown in Melbourne in two weeks after missing last year's nationals due to injury.
Melissa Breen. Photo: Getty Images
Breen competed in the Stawell Gift in 2011, but did not get past her heat.
Last month she broke Melinda Gainsford-Taylor's 20-year-old Australian record when she stopped the clock in 11.11 seconds at the ACT championships at the AIS track.
That form has her primed to create more history at the Gift.
She will also compete in the women's Gift, which she became the first person to win off scratch in 2012.
She will be off the same mark this year.
"I ran against the men in 2011 and I said I wouldn't run against them again until I knew I was in better shape and I think that I am now," Breen said on Thursday.
"Every year I've gone to Stawell since I was 18 and it was a, 'Why not?', why not have a crack and see if I can make the semis.
"Obviously women have tried before and failed before like myself.
"Hopefully this year's a bit different.
"When you're in the best shape of your life you give yourself the best opportunity and that's what I'll be doing in a few weeks' time."
The Gift is a month away and Breen's main focus is on the nationals in Melbourne from April 3-6, which doubles as the Commonwealth Games selection trials for Glasgow 2014.
She is also racing at the Melbourne World Challenge this weekend.
Breen said she was disappointed with her run in Sydney last weekend, where she finished second to Sally Pearson in 11.40s.
"Stawell's great, but obviously the biggest priority at the moment is our selection trials, which are in Melbourne beginning April 3," Breen said.
"I'm in Melbourne at the moment, I'll compete here on Saturday night in the 100m at the Melbourne Track Classic at the World Challenge meet then come back to Canberra for two weeks and really get myself ready for the selection trials back here at Albert Park in Melbourne come April."