- Published on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 00:17
- Written by Josh Williams
AVON — Gifted athletes come in all shapes and sizes. The Avon Cross Country team has one incredibly gifted athlete, one with a super-sized heart, determined to achieve his goals.
Andrew Loriot, 16, came to head coach Ryan Pauling at the beginning of the Avon Cross Country season this year with a unique request. Andrew, who was overweight, wanted to be a part of the team – but mainly to lose weight.
Andrew looks like he should be an offensive lineman instead of hanging out chanting mantras with lanky-legged cross country runners. But he has earned the respect of his peers, coaches and the entire running community by finally completing his season-long goal: to finish a 5k race.
"My first run I could barely make it 400 yards," said the soft spoken Loriot. "Finishing today's race feels good. All the hard work paid off."
The training plan implemented by Coach Pauling was well calculated for Andrew’s particular challenges, and designed to avoid injury.
"I really wanted to start him off slow and build strength so he didn't get injured," said Coach Pauling. "It's been great for the whole team to see his drive and watch his progress."
Two weeks ago, in their first home meet, Loriot was able to complete 1.5 miles of the 3.1 mile course. Today, in a time of 36:26, Andrew Loriot finished his first 5k.
The finish was like a scene from Chariots of Fire. A group of kids piled upon each other to form an 'A' shaped pyramid. Another group ran screaming along side Andrew with a banner. Parents, runners, and coaches from rival teams all applauded together in support of Andrew and his journey.
In two months Andrew Loriot lost 10 pounds, went from being able to run only 400 meters to running 5000 meters, earned the respect of countless people and inspired countless more.
"It's great watching him. It’s crazy how far he's come," said Avon's meet winner Galen Snyder. "Yesterday he was running 400's with us."
"I'm going to keep running," said Loriot who is a Junior this year. "I can't wait to see what I can do next year."
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