Matthew Burns

Fraser joins England Athletics Youth Talent Programme

Year 12 pupil, Fraser (Sedgewick), has taken his first steps on the England Athletics talent pathway after successfully being selected to join their Youth Talent Programme for the next two years.

The Youth Talent Programme (YTP) is designed to meet the needs of identified and talented athletes aged between 16 and 18 years old. The programme focuses on developing a dual career for athletes and supporting them through fulfilling their potential within the sport, and also in their education and employability.

The application process began throughout the summer, closing at the start of September. Over 350 applications were received and this week, Fraser was informed that he had been successful. The programme aims to add value to the athlete and help develop a broad range of skills, abilities and behaviours needed for senior success. It will do this through the delivery of practical training sessions and workshops.

There are a number of YTP venues throughout the country that will play host to training camps for athletes, these are both physical training sessions as well as classroom-based work. As part of the two-year programme, Fraser will gain a Diploma in Sporting Excellence which will account towards progression to further education and employability.

Fraser’s season, like all other sport, was cut short in March due to Covid-19. However, one of the last races still to go ahead back in March turned out to be his biggest triumph. Fraser made Sedbergh School history by becoming the School’s first-ever winner of the prestigious English Schools’ Cross Country Championships, taking victory at Sefton Park, Liverpool by just 6 seconds. Prior to that race, the signs were there to see that Fraser was in red hot form, having tasted victory in the Cumbria County Championships and Northern School’s Inter-County Championships, both in Penrith, earlier in the year.

Fraser wins ESAA XC Champs
Fraser winning English Schools’ Cross Country title back in March 2020

Fraser never got a chance to take his Cross Country form onto the track, something which he doesn’t necessarily consider a bad thing.
“Through lockdown, I didn’t train as much as I would have normally but I quite enjoyed having a bit of a break. It was frustrating not to have a track season, but in the long term I think it was good to have time to recover.” He said.

Fraser makes the most of the training on offer at Sedbergh. Heading out with the running group, led by Head of Running, Mr Richard Wells, where the group covers the local fells but also working with Head of Athletics, Mr Alan Toward, who provides strength and conditioning support as well as some work on the track.
Fraser said, “Sedbergh is working really well at combining the running and athletics groups, it is a very good setup. I am back training with Kendal AC this week for my first session back, but other than that I have just been training at School which I’ve really enjoyed.”

It is difficult to plan ahead, with such disruption to the Cross Country calendar already, but Fraser is looking ahead to next year and staying optimistic saying;
“It is frustrating but I am top of my age group this season (Under-17) so I am looking forward to racing again if there is a Cross Country season!”

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