Moss Vale High School student Liam Hinchcliffe has proved that dedication and self-discipline pays off after he placed 5th overall at the recent NSW All Schools Cross Country Championship in Sydney late last month.
The 15 year old trains on his own most mornings during the week before school and on weekends, setting goals and challenges for himself.
“I train all by myself, I don’t have a coach or anything for cross country. It’s my choice to push hard,” he said.
“I try to mix it up with sprint training, hill training, and I do a 15km long run once a week. Saturdays I do a park run either at Shellharbour or in Bowral.”
The recent state cross country championship saw hundreds of the state’s best runners compete for positions in the NSW team.
Liam is one of 10 runners that will travel to the Sunshine Coast later in the month to represent NSW at the Australian Championships.
“They took the combined times for 14 and 15 year old boys and the top ten became the state team: six will compete and four will be in reserve. I placed 5th overall,” Liam said.
Liam discovered he was a naturally good runner soon after he started school and began competing in school running competitions and cross country events from a young age.
“I moved to Robertson when I was about five and found at school that I was naturally good at running. I’ve made it to the state championships every year since I was 11, but this will be my first year competing at nationals. This year I decided to put in extra training so that I could get there,” he said.
Liam said while he enjoys cross country, his ultimate passion is to be a triathlete and in addition to his cross country training, also trains at the Illawarra Academy of Sport.
“This is my second year at the academy but I’ve been doing triathlons since I was 12. I do sprint distance which is a 750m swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run. I have to wait until I turn 16 before I can do the standard Olympic distance,” he said.
“It’s fun, I enjoy the crowd and pushing myself. I’m not the best at school and this is something that I’m good at. I like to challenge myself.”