ALUMNI Ryan Larson tells us what the university’s running team was like back in his days at Swansea.
Larson attended Swansea University as his year abroad choice during his time at Iowa State University.
He had his mind set on coming to Swansea University after hearing about their politics and history courses.
“I attended Iowa State University which sent, and as far as I know still sends, a fair amount of students to Swansea University for study abroad semesters,” he said.
“As part of my undergrad studies I had a lot of interest in European politics and history so that was a big part of drawing me to study in Swansea.”
Larson is targeting a career in law, having graduated from Iowa State, and is currently studying at the University of Notre Dame Law School.
He had experience of running prior to his time at Swansea University, and felt it was “just natural” to do the same once he arrived in Wales.
He said: “I did run for Iowa State. Jon Brown [1996 European Cross Country Champion] ran there for a couple of years.
“But I was kind of in over my head; I ran some insane workouts but never raced to the level of most of my teammates.
“But once I was [at Swansea] it was just natural to run with the running club, and the Swansea Harriers [local running club], as much as possible because of my interest in running,” he added.
Larson thought the running club provided a welcoming atmosphere throughout his time in Swansea.
“There were about 20 to 30 students active in the club at the time.
“We went to the pub with the club once a week after our runs.
“We also had a big end of the year party that we took a bus to.
“There were a handful of foreign students in the club, and all the Welsh and English runners did a really good job of making us feel welcome.”
One of the races that remains bright in Larson’s memory was the Braids Hill race, which is the annual cross country race that takes place in Edinburgh.
Swansea frequently sent a large group to the event, and Larson remembers his time in Scotland fondly.
“I’m pretty sure we were fourth out of nine scoring teams.
“I was our second runner in, I think I was 34th in a time of 35:48, for some reason Braids is one of those races that I just remember really well.
“With our third and fourth place guys close behind me and our top runner being pretty far ahead somewhere in the top 10 overall.”
Larson recalls the team were always up for an adventure back in his day, with one moment in particular that is etched into his memory.
“After the Braids race had finished, we snuck into the park surrounding Arthur’s Seat.
“That involved climbing at least one fairly impressive wall.
“I don’t think we reached the top because whichever way we would take, eventually it led us to a pretty much sheer grass/rock face.”
The next Braids Hill race takes place on November 10.
For the original interview visit the Swansea Trotters website which can be found at: http://swanseatrotters.wordpress.com/