Cornwall’s race to the finish
When Adam Cornwall started running for the Wilfrid Laurier University cross country team, he never considered himself to be a super star. Ever since he was a kid, he always identified himself as being ‘middle of the pack.’
Now in his sixth year at Laurier and finishing his final year of eligibility, Cornwall is giving it his all in what he sees as his ‘last chance to do something special.’ After a multitude of top five finishes over the years, Cornwall finished in the top 10 at the Western Invitational — only one of two Hawks to accomplish this feat at a top-tier event.
“I wasn’t that good either,” Cornwall said about when he came to the team as a walk-on in his second year. “I only finished 50th place at [the Ontario University Athletics championship]. It’s not like I walked in as some super star guy.”
“That’s just because I wasn’t nearly at any level that a lot of guys are. It took years of training to get to how good the top guys are.”
Since then, he’s been going full throttle heading into the OUA championships, being held in Waterloo this Halloween weekend. Cornwall captured third place at the Don Mills Open in Waterloo, and also picked up an individual silver medal at the Brock Open in St. Catharines before doing some fine-tuning for the big race back home.
But Cornwall wasn’t always so dominant in cross country running.
Back in the days when children ran 800 metres to a kilometre, Cornwall didn’t really consider it to be ‘cross country running,’ and didn’t take it seriously.
“It was a pretty short distance,” Cornwall said. “I wasn’t very good at running. I was a pretty average runner. Just jogging through the courses.”
That all changed when Cornwall hit the eighth grade and he started noticing results. He said seeing these results is what motivated him to continue training.
That, and somewhere around the end of elementary school, puberty happened.
“I can probably contribute the jump from grade seven to eight was probably puberty,” he joked. “That was probably when it started.”
Cornwall continued building momentum throughout his university career. When he got into his fourth year, Cornwall began getting serious with running and training year round after talks with his coaches and realizing this year is his last year to try to do something special.
So he did. Cornwall fully committed himself to the sport and picked up his training. According to Cornwall, a varsity cross country runner normally runs around 100 kilometres a week – so Cornwall completely committed himself to running, breaking that amount.
“The difference between this year and last year running is that I fully committed to running, all year round, this past year on average I was running 130 kilometres a week,” he explained.
Coming into OUA’s this weekend, Cornwall is looking to accomplish his personal goal of cracking the top 10 as well as being nominated as an OUA all-star, given to the top 14 finishers. In a sport that is split by a matter of seconds, it’s difficult to differentiate between the top talent, he said.
“This year is pretty interesting. There’s 25 guys at OUA’s that can finish in the top 10. The field is so deep. There’s so many talented guys out there and everyone wants it bad. Everyone has trained all year round and it really comes down to a couple seconds here and there,” he explained.
“It’s a little nervewracking for sure.”
Despite the nerves, Cornwall remains confident that he will be ready come race day. He knows how close the race will be, especially with all the talent racing this weekend.
“Especially with the top guys, they all come in pretty fast and everyone is so close, a couple strides can mean a couple places. It really is every second counts,” Cornwall said.