Tal­ent runs in the Wil­son fam­ily

Central Leader - - SPORT - By ALASTAIR LYNN

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.’’

Quickly the

boys

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.’’

Photo: SCOTT WIL­SON

Conal Wil­son, far left, has joined his broth­ers De­clan and Finn in their win­ning ways.

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