After finishing fourth at the State Cross Country Championships on July 21, Blaxland runner Andrew Laycock is hoping to make the top 10 at the All Schools Cross Country Championships in Tasmania in August.
The 13-year-old Blaxland High student is looking forward to trying out the grassy 3km course at Rokeby Police Academy in Hobart from August 11.
"I am really excited about heading down to Tasmania to represent NSW,” he said.
“I know it will be a really tough race as I will be up against the nation’s best, but it will be such a great experience".
Andrew qualified for the national championships after his fourth place at the State Cross Country Championships at Eastern Creek last month.
The 3km hilly course had a considerable amount of gravel, pebbles and rocks underfoot, with concrete on the home straight.
“The conditions for the day were good, although I had never run this course in fine weather so it did feel different to be dry and not muddy,” Andrew said.
“I had a really good start and after the first 800m I settled into a steady pace. By the time I reached the first hill the pack had spread out and I was in the top four runners. I knew I had to keep up this pace to hold my position.
“With only one hill left to climb I could feel that I was running really strong and that I would run a good time. As I reached the home straight I was confident that I would qualify for nationals.”
It’s not the first time Andrew has competed at a national level. Last year he represented NSW at the Primary School Sports Association National Cross Country Championships in cold conditions in Canberra, placing 16th.
He trains five times a week and 10 months ago he started taking his running more seriously, working with coach Marilyn Pearson. One of his favourite training runs is in the early morning by the Nepean River.