Dawson City runner Jack Amos moved to Victoria at the start of the school year to advance his outdoor training with the Prairie Inn Harriers running club in preparation for the cross-country season.
Following his second-straight win at the B.C. cross-country championships, Amos said the transition was well worth it.
The 16-year-old runner won the youth five-kilometre race in a time of 15:18 — a new cross-country personal best for Amos.
The race was much closer than his victory in the midget division last year, winning by only one second over Jaxon Mackie.
His coach and mentor from Athletics Yukon, Don White, made the trip down to Abbotsford for the weekend of races.
White said Amos has a habit of starting slow towards the back of the pack and making his way through the crowd. This race was no different.
Amos said without even knowing it he found himself towards the back right off the start and slowly made his way up during the looped course.
But White said he wasn’t there for long picking up the pace early and was in 10th place when he passed by during the first loop.
Working with a teammate, Amos said he was soon right on the tails of the lead pack, consisting of Mackie and two brothers, Zachary and Tate Wyatt, out of the Langley Mustangs.
In the final two kilometers, Amos joined this pack of three and he said he made his move on a hill to take the lead with Mackie staying with him.
The two started their sprint to the finish with about 400 metres to go in the race, White said, with them “duking it out” until Amos took the lead for good finishing about five metres ahead of Mackie.
This was also the first year for Amos in the youth category at the age of 16, while most of his close competitors were 17.
Winning two B.C. championships back to back is a massive accomplishment for the young runner who has only been racing competitively for three seasons.
This was only his fourth cross-country race ever.
He will now set his sights on the Canadian Cross-Country Championships in Kingston, Ont. on Nov. 24.
Competing last year, White said Amos finished in the middle of the pack, running up an age group, running against competitors two years older than him.
This year, Amos has a competitive goal of a top 20 finish.
Other athletes from Athletics Yukon also went down with White to compete in the championships.
Darby McIntyre, 17, competed in the same race as Amos and finished in a time of 18:44, a little bit slower than his time in the 2016 race, White said.
Fourteen-year-old Naoise Dempsey ran in the midget three-kilometre race finishing 36th in a time of 11:14.
Neither competitor will be going down to Kingston for the national championships, White said, but they will now switch their focus to snowshoe training for the Arctic Winter Games.
Lindsay Carson, who also moved from Whitehorse to B.C. to further her outdoor training, finished in sixth place in the senior women’s race in a time of 19:17. She will now also shift her focus to the national championships in Kingston.