Athletics News

Training with Jake Wightman pays off for Belgrade-bound Tom Keen

Training with Jake Wightman pays off for Belgrade-bound Tom Keen

The middle-distance runner reflects on a successful start to the year as he shares an insight into what it’s like to train alongside a world champion

Tom Keen has had a flying start to 2024 as he ran a 1500m PB of 3:36.34 in Australia this February.

This year, the 22-year-old has embarked on journeys to South Africa, Australia and Boston accompanied by his training partner, Jake Wightman.

Learning from Wightman’s lifestyle, including napping more often, the athlete from Cambridgeshire has been able to translate his training into racing – something he says he has struggled to do in the last few years.

Keen will compete in his first cross country race of the year as part of the senior mixed relay team at the World Cross in Belgrade this weekend (March 30).

Adam Fogg, Alex Millard and Bethan Morley will make up the team as they try to win Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s first mixed relay medal at a World Cross.

Although the athlete previously competed for Great Britain as a youth and clinched the European under-18 3000m title, his selection for Belgrade will be the first time he has been selected at a senior level.

After this weekend, Keen hopes to further improve his 1500m PB and reach the European Championships qualifying time, and possibly even the Olympics.

Tom Keen in Watford 2022 (Mark Shearman)

AW chats exclusively to Keen below:

How does it feel to put on your first senior GB vest this weekend and compete in Belgrade?

I haven’t competed for Britain on a senior level, and I haven’t competed in the colours for quite a few years now, so it is really exciting to get that opportunity and to race in the relay team.

I am a little bit nervous because if it is a twisty course and hills, I haven’t done loads of work on that in the last couple of weeks because we have been focusing on indoors a bit more. I’ve tried to do a bit of training around it in the last couple of days, I think all will be fine because it is just running at the end of the day.

I know I am in good shape on the track so hopefully that will translate well in cross country.

How will you approach the race?

We have a very strong team so we should be looking at the medals. It depends on what sort of teams the countries field, but I think we will go into it confident thinking we can pick up a medal.

We are quite a young team on the whole and the first global medal for the country in this event would be really cool.

Tom Keen (Mark Shearman)

How do you reflect on the season…

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