Running Hero Oliver Vedvik: Avid Cross Country Runner from Norway

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It did not start with running. As most kids I started playing football in first grade. I was not particularly good, but I was always chasing the ball like a true terrier. The years went by. I stopped playing football and started cross-country skiing. I also discovered running a bit but only for the sake of training. When I reached 8th grade I started to compete in local 5k and 10k races and I felt that I had finally found something that I really enjoyed doing.

By the end of the year, at the age of 14 (!), I ran my first half-marathon on a hilly course in the time of 1:30:00. This became a turning point to me. As People started telling me that I had a real potential for running, I kept on training. My father read everything he stumbled upon about running and training in general and started coaching me. He did not set up any strict training program but coached me more on a day to day basis where he used the knowledge he had gained to guide me. I continued training and racing 5 and 10ks and progressed slowly day by day. By the end of 2013, at the age of 15, I participated in the Norwegian Cross Country Championship. As I had only been competing in road races and mostly against adult runners my expectations were low. I was now about to race boys my own age, running track and field and cross country. I raced as hard as I possibly could, finishing in a very surprisingly third place! One of the happiest moments of my career so far!

A few weeks later the Norwegian winter arrived and I was invited to take part in a Swedish running camp – the ”Bannister Running Camp” that hosts runners from all over Scandinavia in the age group 13-16 every year in Gøteborg, Sweden. I got to know the founder of the camp and team Bannister Running, Per Skoog, and after a while, Per started coaching me. We often visited his successful running groups in both Gøteborg and Oslo to train together and challenge each other. Between the different trainings and camps we had, Per guided me over the internet which worked out really well.

During the next season, the 2014 season, I won three medals in different national championships and finished off the season by becoming the national cross country champion. My first real track and field/cross country season was definitely a success with lots of strong races and improvement on all levels of my training. Going from being a boy that enjoyed running local races to winning big championships in both track and field and XC by such a short amount of time was truly something special. It made me realize that I truly had potential for running.

Unfortunately, the next season turned out to be a rough one. It all started off really good by finishing second in the indoor championship over the 1500m, but only weeks later I got injured. I suffered a stress fracture in the leg (tibea) which kept me from running for a long while. It had taken eight months before I was able to compete again watching the whole outdoor season passing by. At first I was devastated but throughout the whole injury period I was determined that I was going to get back stronger than ever before. I trained between two and four hours a day with alternative sports types (Elliptical, aqua jog, cycling, roller skiing, swimming, etc.) and worked as hard as my body was able to.

When my first race after the injury finally arrived I had only done a few easy runs and a couple of harder workouts but my “alternative” training paid off. I won the Oslo Marathon 3km with ease. Only weeks later I was once again ready for the national cross country championship. I managed to place third which was quite amazing given the circumstances. I could not have been any happier about finishing the “nightmare season” 2015”. Looking back at this troubled season, I would not have changed a single thing. I optimized my performance given the circumstances. I am also sure that all the troubles I had the last season gave me knowledge, experience, inspiration and motivation that will make me stronger, tougher and better in the future.

Now I am looking forward to new seasons. I am more motivated than ever to improve myself as much as possible. In addition to all this I am so lucky that my whole family shares my passion for running and supports every step of my way. In some weeks I am leaving for South Africa to train at high altitude for the first time together with my coach Per and the rest of Bannister Running. Then I will move on to some other training camps before the 2016 season starts for real. I will always stay hungry but humble and I am in for the long run, ready to run real fast in the future. Wish me luck, and thanks for taking your time to read this.

-OAV

Follow Oliver on Instagram @olivervedvik or Facebook oliver.andersenvedvik if you want to know more.

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