This time last year Rocco Zaman-Browne, 15, a pupil at Hulme Hall Grammar School, Stockport, was celebrating winning a silver medal in the U16, 4,000 metres race at the Independent Schools Association (ISA) National Cross-country Championships in Warwickshire. Last weekend, he surpassed his personal best and is now the proud winner of the gold medal, having beaten 66 competitors from around the United Kingdom.
After starting out as a, “reluctant runner” five years ago, Rocco has shown what can be achieved when raw talent is combined with dedication, determination and encouragement. He explained, “I do eight hours a week of gym work, I play County football and compete regularly.” Clearly, Rocco’s high level of fitness has enabled him to forge ahead when racing.
His PE teacher, Mrs. Smith, remarked, “Rocco, has really pushed himself this year and has been willing to go the extra mile to achieve gold. The course at Princethorpe College last weekend was tough, but he finished 36 seconds ahead of the silver medallist. It will just be a matter of time until he is talent spotted.”
It would appear that Rocco has no intentions of slowing down: he has a busy year ahead. Coming up is the highly contested English Schools National Finals in Nottingham where gifted runners will be hoping to achieve a top ten place, and be selected to take part in an international event in Dublin. “After training hard, I’m really pleased to be winning races and moving towards my dream of representing my country internationally,” Rocco confessed.
With the support of his coach, Carl Summers, at Manchester Harriers, his family and his school, Rocco looks set to achieve his dream. Hulme Hall Grammar School Head Teacher, Rachel Allen, remarked, “Rocco should feel very proud of himself. We have some very talented pupils, like Rocco, who do extremely well in sports generally and especially in the National Cross Country Championships. In the 80 years since we were founded we’ve established a good reputation for recognising talent and helping pupils to fulfil their potential, whatever that may be. We wish him well for the future and look forward to seeing him running for his country in the not too distant future.”