Last Sunday marked a very important day for West Lakes Academy’s (Year 10 student) Oliver Hodgson as he was part of the press team at the Great North Run. Oliver said when he applied for this role in August he “thought nothing of it” – clearly not expecting to receive a letter last Monday inviting him to take part, after which he was “so excited” throughout the week. With a 5:30am get-up, it was undoubtedly a long day, however Oliver was greeted with breakfast in the press tent at the event, which he enjoyed with high-profile media companies, including members of BBC team and from Metro radio.”They were very welcoming” he said, “they were happy to see someone so young taking part.” There were also some Cumbrian organisations at the event such as Visit Whitehaven and Cumbria Media – a proud moment for us Cumbrians who do not usually get much media presence.

 

Although Oliver did not run in the race, he was certainly run off his feet taking photos as he had access to all areas of the event. “I had the best seat in the house” – a statement I’m sure everyone would agree with as he captured fantastic shots (which with his dedication, he was still editing in the car on the way home) of some elite wheelchair partakers, and not to mention Mo Farah as he crossed the finish line.

 

In a mix of professional photographers – which was an “awesome experience” – Oliver was the one to follow Mo Farah around the event and eventually meet him. Oliver described him as “so, so nice and was interested to know about my photography” – the pair even got a selfie together (as shown below).

 

Oliver was overwhelmed with the support both building up to and after the event, an experience that allowed him to practice being independent. WLA’s star student thought he “had no chance” when applying to be part of the Great North Run press team, but is a prime example of how everyone should shoot for the stars. Oliver told us “it was a brilliant experience all round” and that his dad is extremely proud, which is no shock – as so are all of us at WLA.