Wesley College Melbourne Australia
Wesley College Melbourne

On your marks

Posted 8 May 2018 Ed Marks

Year 11 Wesley College student Ed Marks claimed tenth place in the 2018 World Schools Under 18 Cross Country Championships, held in Paris in April. Ed’s time of 16 minutes 37 seconds over the five-and-a-half kilometre course was just 28 seconds behind the winner, Cherrad Oussama from Algeria. Ed was also third over the line for a runner born in 2001. 

While racing on the Champ de Mars and literally under the Eiffel Tower might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the landmark was the last thing on Ed’s mind.  ‘To be honest, I didn’t see the Eiffel Tower during the race. I was so focused on what was going on around me. The idea of running underneath it wasn’t really in my mind on the day.’

More inspiring for Ed was the knowledge that 1500 meters world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj, official ambassador for the event, was watching. ‘It was an honour to have him at the race,’ he said.

Ed, whose favourite race distance is anywhere from three to six kilometres, said his competitive streak motivates him to train and race. ‘I love competing and know that my hard work at training will pay off with good results,’ he said. For Ed, the discipline of middle distance training and racing also transfers to his life as a student at Wesley. ‘It really shows that putting in the effort helps you to achieve the results you want,’ he said.

Head Coach of Athletics and Cross Country Tim O’Shaughnessy described Ed’s tenth place as an outstanding run. ‘He went out with the leaders and challenged them,’ Mr O’Shaughnessy said. ‘This has been a hallmark of his running: he backs himself no matter who he is up against.’ According to Mr O’Shaughnessy, distance running requires discipline if a runner is to succeed, but that discipline also means that every well-prepared student is in a position to back themselves. ‘Being ready for a long run at 8.30 am in the Dandenong’s each Sunday morning is an example of Ed’s discipline,’ Mr O’Shaughnessy said, ‘but it’s this discipline that also enables him to also lead a balanced life with running, study and generally enjoying life.’

Witnessing that discipline and success is also inspiring Wesley’s younger runners, Mr O’Shaughnessy said. ‘Ed was 60th in his first ever race in Year 8, but he developed over the next three years.  This shows all our runners what is possible with consistent hard work.

‘Ed is right up there with the best Wesley College distance runners ever. He has steadily improved since Year 8, but announced his arrival as a top prospect when he won the Under 18 race at the Victorian All Schools Cross Country Championships last year as a 15-year old,’ he said.

The World Schools Under 18 Cross Country Championships hosts the world’s best cross country runners who qualify either individually or as a school team. Ed and four other Australian under 18s qualified in the individual category, with Ed improving on his second place in his age group at the national qualifiers in Hobart to be the first Australian to cross the line in Paris.

Current parents and students can read more about cross country on the College Portal.

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