Athlete Feature 43 - Robbie Farnham Rose - USA Athletics Scholarships

Athlete Feature 43 – Robbie Farnham Rose

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We have always tried to keep the site as balanced as possible and as such, this week’s athlete feature is World Youth Championship 1500m finalist Robbie Farnham Rose. He talks to us about his time in Alabama, and explains the reasons why he decided to return to the UK just one year into his undergraduate degree.

tbUSA – Was going to an American university always something that you were keen to do?

RFR – Yeah, it is always something I have wanted to do. I really liked the look of the lifestyle and it is such a massive opportunity to turn down. Also being offered a full scholarship is very appealing compared to the choice of going to university over here and coming out in debt.

tbUSA – Being a World Youth Championships finalist in 2011 over 1500m, you must have been highly recruited? What was it that attracted you to go to the University of Alabama?

RFR – I did have quite a lot of schools that approached me but the thing that made me choose Alabama is that the coach Dan Waters was much keener than the rest of the coaches. He even flew all the way over to visit me for one day. I got on very well with him when he came over and he sold it to me. I decided to go over for a visit and that’s when I made my mind up. Another reason I chose to go to America/Alabama was that I didn’t want to go somewhere in England where there are so many athletes and the attention I would get would be minimal.

tbUSA - Despite its strong overall reputation in track and field, Alabama is typically not that well  known for its endurance prowess (renowned for sprinters, such as 400m Olympic Champion Kirani James). Did this become apparent once you became acquainted with the program?

RFR – I always knew it wasn’t one of the best schools for endurance but I didn’t want to go somewhere like Oklahoma and be just an average runner in their deep squad. At Alabama I knew I would get more attention. Also the fact that two English boys were there the year (Oli Blake and Gary Bradbury)  made it more appealing and the coach would know what to expect from me coming all the way to another country.

tbUSA – Away from running, how did you adapt and take to the differences in studying and living in the American deep south versus the UK during your year in Alabama?

RFR – It is definitely a lot different to being back in England. It took me a while to adapt but once you get used to it it’s not too bad. There a few lifestyle changes, some that I liked and some that I didn’t. It definitely had its positives and negatives.

tbUSA – A 1500m PB, a  4:02mile, and a bronze medal at the fiercely competitive SEC conference Championships; to most this would seem like a fairly solid first year. However, you decided against returning for your second year and have since returned to the live in the UK. What were the reasons for this decision?

RFR - To be honest I was fully intending to return to the University of Alabama, but after being approached by Russell Grace about an up and coming project within the Teddington area, I had to really consider my options.  It was an inviting offer where 6 athletes would live in an athletes’ house together under the guidance of Rob Denmark and to be supported by Adidas.  After much thought and discussions with family, friends and my coach, I decided this was too good of an opportunity to turn down!  It would then only then make sense that I attend St Mary’s University.

tbUSA –What differences do you expect to see between your new set up and your time in America?

RFR – I think the schoolwork will be a bit easier meaning I will have more time to train and improve my running. I have two great coaches looking after me at the moment being Rob Demark and Mark Hookway. I believe they are the people to take me forward. The training group is brilliant and I really think it is a great chance to take me career to the next level.

tbUSA – What lessons do you believe you learned over the past 12 months (if any) and do you have any regrets about going to Alabama?

RFR – No regrets at all. It was an amazing experience. The whole thing was a lesson I would say. If I didn’t go out to America I would still never know if it was for me or not. I am very happy I went.

tbUSA – What advice would you offer to perspective student athletes who are considering the US collegiate system as an option?

RFR – My advice would be, if everything is working out over here its probably not worth the risk but if you don’t try it your never know and that would be a horrible feeling.

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