2018 ISF World Schools Cross Country Championships – Paris, April 2018
At the beginning of April, Annabel “Annie” Magnussen travelled to Paris, to take part in the ISF (International School Sport Federation) World Schools Cross Country Championships. Annie – back row, 3rd from left – was part of the Abbotsleigh team, representing Australia. She was one of the youngest girls in the race and yet she finished an extremely creditable 47th, and her team finished an amazing second overall. We asked Annie about her experience:
Q. In a few words, what was representing Australia, overseas, in an international competition like?
A. The whole experience was unreal, and I felt so lucky to be up against the best school aged cross country runners in the world.
Q. What do you remember about the race itself?
A. I remember the start; it was pretty crazy. Everyone was trying to get in front of everyone else, and not just by pushing; people grabbed your shirt to get through. Just after the start someone splashed freezing water all up my thighs, and I just remember thinking “I warmed up for nothing”. The race was hard because it was three laps of the same, very flat course, except for 2 small, man-made hills. During the race the hills felt a lot bigger than they looked, especially at the end of the last lap. The only other thing I remember was people cheering for me. I ran past my first ever coach, from Northern Ireland, and she was cheering me on. The support and cheers from the rest of the Australian team is something that really got me through, and apart from that, all I remember is crossing the line.
Q. What was your standout memory of (a) the tour and (b) Paris?
A. My standout memory of the tour was when my team of 6, plus our leader were running late for team training in London. So we decided that instead of just catching the metro back to the hotel, we should hire bikes and ride all the way. we did just that and we were pretty late for training, but riding through the streets of London was something that I will remember way more than being on time for training. Another thing that I will remember is the bus trips with the whole team and the China team, and singing really loudly to our Aussie music. We even managed to get the Chinese team to sing along!
My standout memory from Paris was being reunited with my coach from Northern Ireland. It was almost surreal that I actually got to see her again, and I guess I can thank her son for that, as he was there to compete for Ireland.