Meet Jake Thomson.

Jake is a 21 year old Radio Broadcasting student and he is in his fourth season as a member of the Humber Hawks Cross Country team. Jake was a member of the 2014 CCAA National Championship team, and has the aspiration to one day break the Grenadian 8000m national record.

Jake Thomson running in Humber team uniform

He agreed to sit down with IGNITE and discuss his experiences as a student athlete, and provided advice for other student athletes striving to achieve their goals.

When did you start running?

I’ve been involved with Track & Field since the 7th grade, I started really training and competing in the 9th grade, when i was 14.

What’s the difference between competing in high-school and post secondary?

I was very fortunate to be on a really talented high school team, we managed to take home two provincial titles. What’s different between high school and OCAA athletics is that here it’s crazy competitive. No matter where you are in the ranking, no matter what school you compete for, everybody is in it to win it.

What at Humber has helped you the most: the coaching, facilities, or the camaraderie with your teammates?

All of it, I always thought of myself as a good teammate, but now I’ve learned how to be a great teammate. I think I nail everything the coaches say now. All credit goes to Humber and my coaching staff and strength coach. They really help me understand the sport a lot more, they’ve taught me so many things I wouldn’t have considered before, as well as the type of person you need to be to achieve success.

humber running team group picture from back

What further goals do you have?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of a national championship team, we got a ring for that. I would like to get two more rings this year and next year. That would be a great way to wrap up my career here at Humber.

As far as beyond the OCAA, I agreed with myself that I would hang it up after I got my Grenadian citizenship, and maybe go down there and win a couple National Track Championships. Maybe I’ll try and set the Grenadian National record for the 8000m. That would be ideal, and once I achieve that, then I’ll be okay with hanging up my cleats.

What have you done with your Championship ring?

I go between displaying it in a trophy case and wearing it every chance I get. It’s really nice, its gold with an H for Humber on the face of it, it has 2014 and my last name on it, and a picture of a hawk. The cool part is on the inside, all seven of the guys who received a ring got to put something personal. I put “XC Fam” because I consider my teammates to be family.

Advice to younger athletes?

I’d say specifically to Cross Country athletes, take every opportunity. There’s this myth that distance runners aren’t supposed to lift weights, but that’s wrong; as long as you’re lifting right it’s going to help you. Get in the weight room and lift those weights, listen to your coaches.

Also let your body rest, maybe take a day off from running and go on the bike, or go swimming. There are plenty of resources at Humber to take advantage of.

Jake Thomson finishing a race on grass

What’s it like balancing sports and school?

I’m still working on getting that down, one thing I can say to athletes is that you signed up for the workload of balancing both, make sure to take care of yourself, prioritize things, sleep well, eat right make sure you devote enough time to both. Don’t let either one slip, don’t forget that being a student-athlete is what you want.

Race to look out for this year?

Both championship races. The OCAA provincials and then after that the CCAA National Championships. I promise you there’s no other team that races like we do. We’re team first, you’ll see us in a pack all together, just a big clump of gold going across the course, and that’s really unique especially to the OCAA.

Jake Thomson racing beside a runner from Sheridan College

What’s your pre-game ritual?

My personal thing come race day, is that for breakfast I have to eat scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast, it has to be brown with butter on it with as much water as humanly possible. I might take in a banana too.

As far as music, I don’t like to get too fired up, to me that just wastes too much energy. You’ll find me listening to the most emotional low paced R&B music like Chris Brown, Trey Songz or R-Kelly “I Believe I Can Fly” type stuff. I get as mellow as possible. It allows me to get focused and mentally visualize what i’m going to do in the race.

Make sure to cheer on Jake and the rest of the Humber Hawks Cross Country team in the 2016-17 season! Do you have an interesting pre-game routine? We want to hear about it, let us know on social media!

And if you want to recommend someone for our next Student Profile, click here!

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity

*All photographs provided by Jake Thomson