Berkhamsted Group, Boys | 23.04.2024

Year 9 pupil finishes tenth at International XC Championship

Year 9 pupil finishes tenth at International XC Championship

At the end of Lent term, our Year 9 pupil, Tom F, travelled to Dublin to run in the SIAB International XC Championship. With just 32 runners representing England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales it made for a small but competitive race. After finishing an admirable tenth place and running for the winning team (England), we caught up with Tom to find out more about his running journey.     

Tom’s love for athletics began as early as primary school, following his sister’s footsteps, he joined a local running club. From there, his enthusiasm for the sport only grew. “Throughout school, I have enjoyed getting involved in cross country races and the running club and I was later selected for nationals while at Berkhamsted”.

Following selection at English Schools XC in Pontefract where he ran for Hertfordshire and came 4th, Tom made his way to Dublin the next weekend to compete in the SIAB Schools Cross Country Internationals. “It was quite a small tournament and there was not much of a crowd, but the atmosphere was still great”.

The nature of cross-country competitions (in which pupils run both as a team and individually) means that pupils can experience healthy competition while enjoying the uniting experience of running as a team, “it was fun to win together,” Tom says.

While the SIAB internationals were an incredible experience, Tom had his share of challenges on the way. “Around two years ago I developed Sever’s heel and it made me question if running was actually for me.” Showing resilience, Tom pushed through and came out a more adaptable athlete in the long run, “looking back it was a really big test, and now I am a better runner for it,” he admits.

Tom is especially grateful for the support from teachers within Berkhamsted’s sports department. “Mr Evers and Mr Dudley designed me an Athletics Development Plan and I have had lots of support from other sports teachers at School”.

Aiming high, Tom has already set his sights on his next competition. “Track season is coming up and I’m hoping to qualify for the English Schools Athletics Association Championships.” While he is unsure about his long-term plans, Tom knows one thing is for sure, “ I love running as a hobby and want to pursue it for as long as I can”.

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