An interview with Nathan Wilkins - John Walker Cross Country Trophy Winner
Nathan Wilkins was presented with the John Walker Men's Cross Country trophy at the end of season social in March
Whilst the winner of this award doesn't have to be the fastest man on the team, he needs to have demonstrated dedication and commitment and, in the eyes of the captain, genuine achievement during the course of the season. In Nathan's case, he was ever present at the Met League fixtures where he broke into the A team (finishing as 12th, 14th, 13th, 9th and 10th Serpie), and also performed very well at the Kent, Southern and National XC championships. As a young athlete, Nathan also shows great potential for the future. The real clincher for Nathan though was the enormous support his team-mates expressed for him when potential winners of the trophy came up in conversation. We caught up with Nathan to find out a bit more about this season's popular winner.
Nathan started running cross country seriously six years ago when he was 16. He'd always done well in the sport at school and after eight years concentrating on playing football he was ready for something new. He joined up with his local club, Medway and Maidstone AC. Nathan's quite new to Serpentine, having joined around a year ago. He says his favourite thing about cross country is "that feeling two thirds of the way through a race when you know that you’ve timed everything right". Not all of us are so familiar with that feeling Nathan! His advice for those trying cross country for the first time is "First lap easy. Second lap move up. Third lap hang on!" He struggles if there aren't three laps!
Looking to the future
Nathan trains five or six times a week. His training isn't cross country specific, but he does try to increase mileage and do longer repetitions in the winter, with more track sessions during the summer. He had a coach when he first started running and used a lot of his training sessions whilst at university, but these days he plans most of his sessions himself, building on previous plans and what he reads in running books. Nathan ran his first half marathon at Paddock Wood last weekend in an impressive 1h17m. He aims to get his 5k PB down this summer as well as having a strong summer on the track. Looking further ahead, breaking into the top 50 at Met League is a goal for the next cross country season.
When asked about his proudest achievement, Nathan remembers racing at the British Universities and Colleges Sport athletics championships when they were held as a test event at the Olympic Stadium. He says, "I ran a very conservative 5,000m and was never going to make it out of the heats, but it was great to put in a quick last lap knowing my Mum and Dad were amongst a few thousand spectators."
Nathan lives in central London, but he's originally from Kent. He's currently a trainee solicitor and that takes up a lot of his time time. It's not all work and running though: he spent five months with one of his mates canoeing from the west coast of France to the Black Sea in 2013. He's also a big Manchester United fan...had the captain known this, the trophy might have gone to someone else!
Men's cross country captain
Submitted: 4 April 2015