7:30am Friday 2nd March 2012
By Ryan Goad
OF all the many impressive performances by south Essex athletes at the English Cross-Country Championships, there was perhaps none better than the run of Tom Frith in the junior men’s race.
The 19-year-old Southend AC athlete admitted he shocked even himself with his sixth-placed finish in a high quality field at Parliament Hill.
“It went a lot better than expected,” laughed Frith, who is currently studying at Oxford University. “I went into the race hoping to get into the top 20. I knew I was in good shape and was excited to be racing, but I didn’t know I was going that well.”
The former Southend High School for Boys teenager is coming off the back of a year interrupted by injury and had not raced that much in recent months.
An outing at the British Universities Championships in Cardiff in January saw him finish in 38th place and gave little indication of the form that was to come.
“I put in a really good two week block of training before the nationals, training more than I have ever done and it paid off.
“Parliament Hill is my type of course. I love the hills as opposed to a flat course and I always enjoy running there.
“I found myself just off the leading group fairly early on and that gave me so much adrenaline to carry it on.
“I managed to stay in the position and one by one people were coming back to me and I was picking them off. Then I finished really strongly.
“It was a great feeling and has really boosted my confidence.”
His performance has given Frith plenty to think about with regard to his future plans.
“It has made me think about my plans for the season ahead,” said Frith. “There’s the possibility that I might win selection for the England team to run in the Home Nations international, but if not I will start looking ahead to the track season.
“I want to really concentrate on bringing my 1,500m time down to under 3m 50s. Hopefully I can do that.”
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