Declan Wilson from Sacred Heart in Auckland won the six kilometre cross country race by 11 seconds to take the New Zealand Secondary Schools Senior Boys Cross Country title on Saturday 19 June at Waikanae.
Declan Wilson takes on the second hurdle at the Senior Boys NZ Secondary Schools Cross Country Champs.
The sixteen year old, who runs for Wesley Athletic and Harrier Club, clocked in with 19min 50secs ahead of second place getter Matt Baxter of New Plymouth Boys High School.
Declan says that the drive from Auckland down to Waikanae was pretty tough. He was quite nervous at the start “seeing some familiar faces from the worlds tour (World Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships where he was placed ninth), just remembering how some of the other runners competed.”
“I just stuck to what my coach Bruce Jones told me to do… go out with the front pack, keep a steady pace and try to get past everyone else.” Jones has been his coach for 18 months.
The start of the race was pretty tough. “Everyone went out quite hard. I was thinking wow! this is a quick pace, I wonder how many are going to keep this up!”
“There was a front bunch of Matt Baxter (who got second) and Mohamed Ali (who ended up fourth) and a few other guys - we set a reasonably fast rhythm. Then Mohamed and I started getting more serious going up to the second hurdle. After the second hurdle we charged down the hill, and then built up a lead between the two of us. I dropped Mohamed coming down the hill with one lap to go.”
He is pretty stoked about the 11 second win and says “Coming out of the win at the Auckland Secondary Schools Champs I was feeling pretty confident. I went down to Waikanae to medal, and the result is just awesome.”
“I’m pretty stoked. I’d had a lot of talk at school about doing well, and putting out a good performance on the day was good. My parents were pretty stoked as well. Dad came down to Waikanae with the school - he was taking photos, talking to coaches, and he was very proud.”
Declan didn’t compete at the Secondary Schools Cross Country Champs last year due to a football injury. He has played football since he was five years old. He says “I have dropped down a few grades in the school football teams just so that I don’t get any injuries before important races.”
He only got serious about his running and started doing proper training two years ago. Now he does six runs a week, ranging from slow 90 minute runs to tempo runs of 30 to 40 minutes. He is also training with the 25 to 26 year olds at his club. He says “My favourite track race is the 1500m. I got eighth in the final of senior boys race at Timaru’s NZ Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships last year.”