A chat with…..National U18 400m Champion, Mark Loh
Today we begin a new series where we will interview students who have been successful in their chosen sporting endeavours. First up, we have newly crowned National U18 400m Champion, Mark Loh.
Mark competed and won at last weekend’s National Athletics Championships held at the brand new Ngā Puna Wai track and blitzed the field to take out the title.
This success is the culmination of an interest in athletics from an early age. “I started in Malaysia when I was about 6. My dad was into trail running. It was a small thing at the start, I would do occasional reps of 200m,” explains Mark.
When Mark first competed at the Avonhead Primary athletics day, a family friend said he should join an athletics club. “That’s when it all kind of kicked off from there.”
Mark’s first inspiration was his brother who was a very good high jumper and competed at the World Youth competition. “It was his attitude, he was kind of laid back and did well at what he did.”
Learning from his brother’s laid back approach, Mark is a quietly confident young man whose sole focus in preparing for the nationals was on performance rather than the result. “I stay relaxed and think about what I am going to do during the race. Before the race I think of how I am going to run, my technique, my arms. I also think about my opponents and what lanes they are in so I can be sure that if a fast guy is on the inside of me but I can’t see him, I know he is going to be there.”
Mark attributes St Thomas’ as helping him stay focused and providing friends who he can confide in about any struggles he may be having.
When it comes to training and getting through the hard times, Mark suggests training with friends as this prevents you from getting worn out, and tired or sick of the training. “I’ve been training for a couple of weeks by myself and its been quite hard, so I would recommend training with a couple of guys you enjoy being with.”
Finally, the future of athletics at STC is bright with upcoming athletes like Daniel Prescott, Liam O’Donnell and Josh Price who Mark singled out as a rising competitor. “Josh is doing pretty well. He is quite quick for his age!”
As Mark crossed the line to become the 2019 National Champion, he described the feeling as one of completing the job rather than a euphoria of winning.
Congratulations to Mark and his family, and the STC community look forward to watching him progress in his athletics career.