Cranleigh School year 12 pupil Will Barnicoat beat fierce competition to take the silver medal at the Saucony National cross country championships.
The England Cross Country Association’s annual cross country championship, held on February 24, is the biggest event of the season, established to find the best runners of each age group across the country.
This year there were 744 runners competing in the U15 boys race at Parliament Hill in London.
Will began to run competitively just one year ago and now runs with a club, AFD. Most of the top athletes in his age group had been training for a lot longer.
Will said: “As I arrived at Parliament Hill, a little tired from taking an early train and tube to get there, I took a look at the course and instantly knew that this was going to be a hard race.
“It was extremely hilly and by the time I had walked the 4.5km course I was feeling rather out of breath!
“I warmed up and I was quite calm, but a little nervous too. My team and I walked to the start line. The gun went off and I got a half decent start. I was in about 12th place.
“The big names in the race were in the lead but I managed to pick them off one by one as I went up and down the hills and along the few flats.
“By about half way round the course, it was pretty clear who was going to be competing for the medals.
“One of the leaders could not deal with the pace and dropped off leaving me and my biggest rival (who last year was almost half a minute ahead of me!), to battle for the gold medal.
“The course was getting flatter now and the pace was quickening, my rival was starting to open up, but I didn’t let him, I just sat on his shoulder for as long as I could until he broke free of me on the final 200m or so and won by four seconds. It feels good to be the second fastest kid in the country!
“All the hard training has paid off and I would like to thank my coach Trevor and club, plus my family and friends for helping me get to where I am today.”