A Eastbourne schoolgirl’s ambition to compete in the Olympics gathered pace after she won the Sussex Schools Cross Country Championships.
Roedean Moira House Year 10 pupil Beth Cook, 14, streaked ahead of the competition to take first place at Waterhall stadium in Brighton. Winning first place means that she does not need to run in the next South East stage of the championships and will go straight to the English Schools level, running against girls from all over the country, in March in Leeds.
Beth set the pace from the start, taking a clear lead and maintaining this throughout the race. What makes this more of an achievement is that her intermediate age group also includes Year 11 and so Beth was competing against runners a year older than her as well.
Beth, who is also a champion triathlete, said: “I was really nervous but once I got going I was fine. I’m really pleased with my time which means that I’ll run the next level of the championships but just for training purposes as I’m already through to the England stage. That’s a nice feeling.
“My sports teacher at school has been incredibly supportive, which has really helped. She always keeps track of what events I am competing in, helps me keep on top of homework and talks with my parents so everyone knows what I have coming up next.”
Beth is also a champion triathlete and trains for anything between 17 and 20 hours a week on the track, in the pool and on her bike.
She hopes to be good enough at triathlon to compete in the 2024 Olympics and it’s certainly in the blood – both parents, Glenn Cook and Sarah Coope, are successful athletes as well as running Eastbourne’s Team Bodyworks, a triathlon training organisation.
Glenn is two times European triathlon champion, six times British triathlon champion and world triathlon championship runner up in 1989. And Sarah is six times European triathlon champion. Glenn is head coach at Eastbourne coaching hub Bodyworks, where Sarah also coaches.
Beth’s head of sport at Roedean Moira House, Amie Legate, said, “Beth works so hard to achieve what she does and is a fantastic role model for the girls. She puts in the hours, never complains and is modest to boot! I know she will go far.”