Rowan is a class runner – and good footballer too!

Rowan DixonWhen the Dyfed Schools' cross-country championships were held in Carmarthen recently one of the winners from Pembrokeshire was Rowan Dixon, who at nine years old attends Hakin Community School in Milford Haven.
Rowan is also a very talented young footballer in his age group at Hakin United AFC, generally playing as a winger or striker, and has either set up or scored his fair share of goals under the watchful eye of coach Anthony Mayhew.
Showed ability at school sports and Pembrokeshire Junior Schools’ Cross Country
In fact, it was his pace and ability to keep going on the football pitch which initially gave an indication of his running ability and it came as no surprise that when he entered the school sports he received the Jubilee Sports Endeavour Shield for winning the most points on the day as reward for his willingness to take part in a range of events.
From there he was off last year to the Pembrokeshire Junior Schools Cross Country Championships at Oakwood and was pleased with his third place at the first time of asking - and achieved the same position when he competed in the Dyfed Junior Schools event around the showground in Carmarthen, no mean feat against so many competitors from Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire alongside those from all over Pembrokeshire.

Slight hitch this year but Rowan was undismayed!

So it was with optimism that Rowan looked forward to trying to improve in both races this year - but after a lot of training he didn't feel 100% well during the week before Oakwood. His parents tried to persuade him not to go but he was so keen that they relented and he battled through to third place again over the mile-long course.
Some youngsters might have given up at that point but this minor set-back only made Rowan train even harder - and he showed his grit by joining dad Chris, a well-known triathlete who represented Wales for his age group in the European Championships in Rimini, Italy, and next year will be able to run in the vets (over 40s) triathlons, on several runs.

Working hard with Dad pays off

With mum Tammie, who is the organiser of the family's sport and described by both as 'The best chauffeur in the world' giving every encouragement as well as looking after Rowan's four month old sister Erin, the father and son took part in five Km runs at Newgale Beach with the Coastal Parks and at Stackpole with the National Trust, and Rowan outlasted quite a few of the adults taking part.
"We didn't push him at all," said Chris, "because we just want him to enjoy himself in his sport, but there is no doubt that they not only increased his stamina but gave him confidence."
These certainly set him in good hwyl for the Dyfed Championships as his family cheered him on throughout a first lap where he was handily placed before he increasing the tempo at just the right time tactically and overtook all his old rivals to win by about 150 metres.
"We were delighted for him." admitted Chris, "not least because he battled on when some youngsters might have given up, and we felt he deserved success after so much hard work."

Football skills galore with Hakin, Pembrokeshire and Swansea Academy

On the football front, Rowan supports Barcelona and loves watching Lionel Messi, and really looks forward to his games at The Observatory Field with a group of players that include Reggie Armstrong and Isaac Mills (whose respective fathers Nigel and Shaun were top Vikings for many years) alongside Dylan McGuire to name but a few of a squad that are top of the table in their age group.
He also plays for the Pembrokeshire Junior Schools' squad for his age group that is managed by Matthew Holmon under the overall organising of Angela Nicholls, the head teacher of Tenby Junior School.
"We train together about twice a month around the county," said Rowan, "and in tournaments across South Wales we have done quite well."
Rowan's performances there have also earned him selection for the Swansea Academy for his age group that is coached by Ceri Phillips, following a series of trials in the area.
"We train every Wednesday evening under the lights at Tasker Milward School and we play against other Swansea City teams from other areas that have academy teams, so it means more travel for mum and dad, but they don't mind!"

Rowan plays a silent drum kit

Rowan Dixon with medalsOutside of his sport, Rowan's way of relaxation is to play the drums and he recently took part in the Valero Music Festival for Pembrokeshire at Sir Thomas Picton School, showing his prowess and ability to find rhythm as reward for lots of practice in school and at home.
His parents say it is certainly a noisy instrument but luckily for them (and neighbours!) he has an electronic drum kit which means that he plugs in his headphones and can play without anyone else hearing a single sound! Clever stuff that!!

Enjoying himself with The Harriers

Back on the athletics front, Rowan is too young this season to compete in the Welsh Championships but has joined Pembrokeshire Harriers, where he has been warmly welcomed and is already enjoying the weekly training sessions held under the guidance of Peter Freeman and Laurence Worth.
"I'd like to go more often," Rowan told us, "but I also have football training which I really enjoy as well as work for school that I have to keep up with.
"The Harriers have encouraged me all the way in the 1,500 metres and upwards and I'm hoping to compete on the track this summer as part of my training for cross country."
There's one thing for sure and that is the fact that we are sure to hear lots more about Rowan Dixon in football and cross country because of his willingness to work hard in training and put into practice what his coaches and family advise him to do.
This attitude will certainly pay dividends in all he does and we are sure that we are going to hear lots more about this talented young sportsmen during the summer months with Pembrokeshire Harriers as well!