An Athlete's 'Prospective' - Richard Goodman - USA Athletics Scholarships

An Athlete’s ‘Prospective’ – Richard Goodman

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This week trackboundUSA spoke to British junior endurance athlete Richard Goodman. The European Cross Country Junior runner up is currently mid-way through a gap year after finishing his A Levels. Whilst the NCAA is not something he has committed to, it is something he is considering. We spoke to him to find out what will influence his decision.

tbUSA: Was a gap year always the plan after finishing school? Did you consider applying to university or entering the job market?

RG: Yes 100%, I always wanted to take a year out before going to university to focus entirely on training and racing. I wasn’t interested in applying for a job to keep me busy as training takes up enough time as it is.

tbUSA: You completed your studies in June, we are now in February. How have you spent your gap year so far?

RG: I’ve spent the majority of the year in Iten, Kenya training at altitude. From September to December my training was focused specifically for the European cross country championships. Now I’m back in Kenya again preparing for the summer track season.

tbUSA: Several of your age group peers have headed stateside over the last few years. Was it this that helped generate your own potential interest in the US collegiate system?

RG: It has definitely made me more and more interested as I hear how well they are getting on. It’s given me great confidence when in comes to deciding whether to stay in the UK or move to the US. The results that are coming out of the collegiate races are also much faster than those coming from races in the UK.

tbUSA: What are likely to be the main factors that will influence your decision on whether to head stateside or remain in the UK? Who will you look to for support and advice?

RG: I guess it depends how well I perform this summer on the track. If my performances are exceptional I hope to be put on funding and sign with a sponsor. However, I don’t think this outweighs what the US universities are offering.

tbUSA: What would you look to get out of any potential American venture?

RG: I hope to make big improvements in my track times as well as getting a good degree. I hope moving to the US will open many new doors and offer me opportunities that I’ll never get if I stay in the UK.

tbUSA: Have you been proactive in contacting American coaches yourself or have they been contacting you?

RG: At first around GCSE time I researched potential division one schools and narrowed down the schools I thought would best suit me. I made contact by sending a generic email to the track/cross country coaches telling them a bit about me and my running history. As I won more races and lowered my track times I began to receive emails back from those that were interested and started speaking to the coaches who took interest.

tbUSA: UK Athletics and the London Marathon have made a concerted effort to improve the state of endurance running in Britain, most notably with the emergence of the supported altitude camps. Do you think that this support make more British athletes think twice before heading to the US?

RG: I don’t think so, it’s difficult to fulfil the criteria to get on the altitude camps and only a handful of athletes are chosen to go. The opportunity of going to America on an athletics scholarship has far more rewards than spending a couple of weeks a year at altitude.

tbUSA: Having been on several of these altitude training camps, can you give an insight into what goes on and also how do you feel that the camps have helped your development as an athlete? 

RG: The camps are fantastic, UKA have an amazing set up in both France and Kenya. The camps last up to 4 weeks and give you the chance to live like a professional with access to physiotherapists, doctors and coaches. The camps have allowed me to focus on my training without any distractions and reap all the benefits of staying at altitude for an extended period of time.

tbUSA: What reservations do you have about the NCAA system or even America in a general sense?

RG: None really, I’m confident I’ll make the right decision. The coaches I’ve been speaking to have been a real help when it comes to answering any questions I have.

tbUSA: In terms of your own running, you made a big breakthrough at the European Cross to finish second in 2011. What are your plans for the upcoming 2012 season?

RG: My training will be geared towards the World Junior championships in Barcelona. This summer is really important for me, I hope all the training I’ve done and will be doing will show when it matters.

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