Cross Country Tales with Callum Hawkins
Club: Kilbarchan A.A.C
How would you describe cross country to someone who has never tried it?
Cross country is the purest form of running. Cross country tests all aspects of endurance running.
What is your earliest memory of taking part in cross country?
Cross country is what got me into athletics in the first place, so it holds a very special place in my heart. My early memory of cross country is running around my Primary school playground at lunch when I was 9 years old. It was the first sport that real captured me probable cause I was beating most at my school. My first race I did was put on by the club I would later join and become a lifetime member Kilbarchan A.A.C for all the local schools. I was racing boys that where up to 2 years older than me. I finished 11th overall but 1st primary 5 boy. From that point on I was properly hooked and all I wanted to do was improve and the next time beat everyone that had finished in front of me.
What is your best result to date?
My Best cross result is 3rd at the European championship 2016 in Chia Italy. I had not long come off the back of competing at the Olympics in Rio and I was in the best shape I had been. I came into the champs with great confidence that I could medal. It was a strong field and a cross course that didn’t really suit me so to come away with my first International senior medal was a great achievement for me. It was a great way to finish what had been my best year in athletics so far.
What is the toughest cross-country experience you’ve had?
The toughest cross-country experience was in the NCAA great lakes regional race. It was first year at and I had enjoyed the lifestyle a bit too much and was in terrible shape. It was a and I was not prepared for it. I finished sixty something and was completely out my depth. It was the kick that I needed and caused me to make a change. The next year I ended up having one of my best races and finished 1st in the same race.
Is there another race that particularly stands out?
A race that really stands out to me was the NCAA Cross Country championship in 2011. The main reason that is stands out to me is because of the course which is in Terre Haute, Indiana. It is still the best course that I have ever raced on. It is a true cross course with constant rolling hills.
How do you train for cross country season?
The only thing that changes in my training when I’m doing a cross season is that I will do a hill fartlek for some sessions. The hill fartlek involves a set route with a lot of hills of varying length and steepness, when you get to a hill you have to sprint to the top. Between each hill is to be run at normal run pace so there isn’t much time to recover. I find this session at simulating the kind of efforts that you make in a cross country race and teaches the body to recover from each hard effort while still running at a relatively quick pace.
What are your cross country goals for the season?
I be able to compete in cross country season due to my road racing schedule but if there is any opportunity for me to race on the I will certainly jump at it.
What is your preferred footwear for a cross country race?
New Balance XC seven
If you could change one thing about cross country what would it be?
I would outlaw logs and hay bales. If course designers want to challenge runners put a hill in the course.
Is there anyone you idolise within cross country racing specifically?
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