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Kāpiti College student Jack Gregory delighted with silver medal at NZ Secondary Schools Athletic Championships

Jack Gregory with his silver medal. Photo / David Haxton

Kāpiti College student Jack Gregory’s training paid off in style when he impressed in a hard-fought race at the NZ Secondary Schools Athletic Championships.

In December, Jack, 14, who lives in Paekākāriki, was among 57 Year 9 students who competed in the fast-paced 3km road race in Christchurch and managed to place second – and he couldn’t have been happier with the result.

That was his second race of the competition after a “less-than-ideal” first race on a 3km track.

He managed to finish the race, which consisted of three 1km loops around a woolshed, in a time of nine minutes and 44 seconds – about six seconds behind first place, and mere milliseconds in front of third place.

“It was probably the best race I’ve had.

“I’ve been training hard for it, and it came at the right time.”

Jack’s mother, Caroline, accompanied him to Christchurch and said it was fantastic watching the race.

“It was pretty exciting there on the sidelines. I could see how well he was going, and knew he was having a really good race.”

Jack Gregory (centre) with first-placed competitor Daniel Wordsworth (right) and third-placed Ethan Mora.
Jack Gregory (centre) with first-placed competitor Daniel Wordsworth (right) and third-placed Ethan Mora.

Going into the race, Jack said he had a bit of a game plan that involved pacing himself for the first kilometre, and then “making moves” to overtake people in the second kilometre.

By the time the first 400m had been run, he was sitting in about tenth place, but by the last 400m he was in fourth, and there was a sprint-off in which he managed to move into second place.

His main goal for the race was to beat his time in the first race, which he wasn’t sure was possible since the first race was on a track and road races are generally slower, but he surpassed his expectations and achieved that.

Jack started running about three years ago when he decided he wanted to win the Paekākāriki School cross-country event, and he said since then, he has spent a lot of time running – and thinking about running.

Most of his training comes from his coaches, John Cope and Craig Holden, who are from the Olympic Harriers running club, but over the summer they’re not always available, so he trains with YouTube videos and does his own research on running.

Jack also does the 5km Kāpiti Coast Parkrun, which starts at Otaihanga Domain, with his father, Tim, and he especially wants to get his personal best time, which is currently 17 minutes and 21 seconds, down to about 17 minutes.

He’s also got a longer-term goal of securing an American sports scholarship too.

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