Talented runner sets a first for Banovallum in national final

Evie takes a break from training
Evie takes a break from training

It’s six o’clock in the morning. It could be raining or snowing - or both.

Most 12-year-olds would probably still be tucked up in bed. Not Evie Brooks.

Evie Brooks - will create a sporting first for Banovallum. Photo: Lucy Pilgrim

Evie Brooks - will create a sporting first for Banovallum. Photo: Lucy Pilgrim

At least three mornings a week, you’ll find the Banovallum School student up at the crack of dawn, pounding the pavements near her home in Horncastle.

Evie is one of the country’s leading cross country runners in her age group.

On Saturday, she will become the first student in Banovallum’s history to represent the school in the national finals.

Evie will line up against other top prospects in Leeds.

She’s already battled through a demanding programme, just to qualify.

Evie admits she loves running - even though cross country courses often make most teenagers go weak at the knees.

They involve stamina-sapping climbs, ploughing through cloying mud and even fording the occasional stream.

“Running makes me feel a lot happier,” says Evie.

“It’s difficult to explain really, but I always feel a lot better when I’m racing.”

Evie didn’t start running until her final year at Horncastle Community Primary School.

After enjoying her first race so much, she joined Louth Running Club - and hasn’t looked back since.

Evie is often racing against competitors who are 12 months older than her - and 12 months more experienced.

Despite that, she has produced some inspiring performances to come through the district, county and inter-county finals to qualify for leeds.

She won the district event at Hubbards Hills in Louth, and finished seventh in the county finals but is not setting any targets in the national finals, adding. “I’ll just try my best.”

Evie will be stepping up her pre-event preparations - and pizza and chips will be off the menu! instead, it will be lots of pasta.

She is full of praise for the support and encouragement she receives from staff at Banovallum - and from her parents.

They are not runners, but her mum shares those early morning starts to make sure Evie is safe.

“You’ve got to be dedicated,” adds Evie, who says she is is ‘never tempted’ to crawl back into bed, even on the coldest morning.

Training runs cover two or three kilometres.

There’s usually time for breakfast (healthy, of course) before it’s off to school for another ‘working day.’

She likes art but, worryingly for a long distance runner, she is not a fan of geography!

Evie is also a talented netball player. She represents Lincolnshire and is in the junior academy squad at Loughborough Lightening, one of the country’s leading teams.

She’s a centre - they do more running than any other position - and admits she would love a career in professional sport.

She still has time on her hands. Evie is in her second year at Banovallum. She is targeting a place at a sports college, but for the moment, she has her eyes firmly set on those national finals.