Truro’s School’s Finn Birnie put in an exceptional performance this weekend at the SIAB Schools International XC 2015 Cross Country Event finishing a solid fourth.
Held in Santry Demesne, Dublin, the event featured a high-class field of 33 runners from all over the UK with all competitors having previously qualified through county, regional and then national heats.
Finn’s high finish helped the England team to be crowned national champions, beating Wales, Ireland and Scotland to the title.
The Story of the Race
With perfect conditions for the race along with some cooling cloud, the pace was quick from the start with a leading group of four runners forging a gap between the rest of the field.
Despite not being in the leading group, Finn started off well and headed up the chasing pack after lap one alongside England teammates Marcus Dev from Oldham and Adam Searle from Northampton.
Towards the end of lap two Finn managed to break away from the main group, finding the pace to leave his pair of teammates and chase down fourth placed Mohamed Mahamud.
“At the start of the final lap I tried to overtake Mohamed but he wouldn’t let me, he simply increased his speed.”
However, Finn’s endurance shone through as he finally picked off Mohamed Mahamud on the last hill of the race to claim a well-deserved fourth position.
The race was eventually won by Darragh McElhinney from Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí school in Bantry, Ireland, with a time of 12 minutes and 52 seconds, nine seconds clear of second place.
“I was relieved when I crossed the line. I proved to myself that I can be up there with the best.”
Finn’s Cross Country Success Story
Finn took up running as a sport when he was in Year 3 at primary school and competed for the first time at the age of 10.
With two successful years of competition under his belt during primary school, Finn then joined Truro School in 2012 where he started to be coached by John Knowles.
“John is a really good coach, he tells me what I am doing right and what I can improve on. I am very thankful to have him as my coach, he has helped me so much and got me prepared for the schools championships.”
Next year Finn will be moving up into the inter-boys age group where he can expect to compete against Year 10 and 11 GCSE students from around the UK in the schools championships.
Finn finished by saying:
“I’d love to make the Great Britain Under 20 team one day and also make the England schools international final again, next time at inter-boys age level.”
With the cross country season now drawing to a close, the Truro School runner now turns his attention to track events over the spring and summer.