Talent runs in the Wilson family
Tradition runs strong in the Wilson family with three brothers claiming national cross country championship titles.
Conal Wilson, 17, has continued the legacy left by older siblings Declan and Finn by winning the New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships in Dunedin on June 20.
The trio from Mt Eden have become the first family to achieve the feat and Conal admits it was the success of his brothers that motivated his decision to take up the sport.
‘‘I joined Bruce [Jones] who was coaching Declan and Finn at the time,’’ he says.
‘‘I just wanted to emulate the success that they had achieved so far.
‘‘It was great to be surrounded by those guys.’’
Declan won the event in 2010 and 2011, while Finn took the title in 2013.
The two only began running to keep fit for other sports.
‘‘I originally played rugby and football,’’ Finn says.
‘‘I kind of just stuck with running . . . it all kicked off from there.’’
were clocking an average of 50 minutes a day and up to 80 kilometres a week.
As per usual with brothers, sibling rivalry always pushed them to train harder, run faster and achieve each rung in the ladder.
However Conal says it all tended to be friendly banter.
‘‘We’re really close but when it came to racing we understood what we wanted to do,’’ he says.
‘‘We’ve always supported each other.’’
All three brothers began running with their Auckland Grammar School team.
Rain or shine, blistering cold or blazing heat, they would never fail to get outside and strap on their running shoes.
‘‘We understand that you need to go through that to get the best result possible when it comes to race day,’’ Conal says.
‘‘There’s nothing like it when you cross the line and you know you’ve done well. It’s that feeling you get that keeps you going.’’
It was the influence of Jones that the brothers felt enabled them to reach their goals.
‘‘You see so many athletes just getting run into the ground by their coaches,’’ Finn says.
‘‘Bruce would analyse his athletes individually,’’ Conal says.
‘‘He got our strengths and used them to our advantage.’’
Conal Wilson, far left, has joined his brothers Declan and Finn in their winning ways.