College runner sets hot road race pace

28 May 2021

Matty Hickman has run away with the Canterbury Schools Road Race Championships U16 title in North Hagley Park, with fellow College runner Art Aitken finishing 5th.

Sam Idiens secured a top-three finish in the senior boys’ race while Jasper Moss was 2nd in the AWD event over two kilometres. In the Year 9 race, Henry Hiatt finished 4th, with Oli Aitken 9th.

For Matty, 15, it was his first attempt at the road race and he was very happy to cover the three kilometres in 9 minutes 28 seconds –the only runner to finish under 9.30.

“It was my first time lining up in that type of event and I was a bit unsure against some of the top-level runners,” he says. “However, I felt very relaxed during the race and was surprised to find myself near the front, so I just went for it.”

Matty says College athletics coach Graeme Christey “provided great advice before the race”, telling the promising runner to sit behind a particularly fast competitor for most of the course and try to pull ahead with 400 metres to go.

It proved perfect guidance, with Matty running his best race of the year. He normally competes over 800m and 1500m at regional and national track events but plans to tackle cross-country races this winter.

Matty was encouraged to start training after Athletics Day last year when his times nearly nudged aside College records in Year 9.