Sport: Cross Country
Who is Jake Thomson?
Cross country runner Jake Thomson was born 1995 in Oshawa, Ontario. He discovered running in grade 7 as a track and field athlete. Little did he know that he would be a much-needed asset to his future high school cross country team. In 2014, he helped the Humber College men's cross country team secure a spot at Nationals that was being held in Calgary, Alberta that year.
Now, entering his fifth year as a Humber College athlete, and over the past five years, Thomson has shown his peers what dedication and determination is. As captain of the men's cross country team, Thomson has proven what it takes to be an all-around student and student athlete.
In addition to Jake's athleticism and student life he has also been working for the college as a sports announcer at all the home games – basketball, volleyball and announcing the women's softball OCAA championship. All of Thomson's hard work earned a him a scholarship courtesy of Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame. Thomson earned the Jerry Howarth award for excellence in sports broadcasting. He was the first-ever recipient of the award.
"By far one of the coolest experiences ever. It meant a lot to get that award because of Jerry Howarth, for anyone who knows sports broadcasting, knows that Jerry is a huge name. For what little I've done in the broadcasting world, for that to even be slightly comparable, is like wow"
Right from his first year Thomson has always been about the team and Humber. You can ask him how he raced or how he is feeling about a race, but his response every time will be a little bit about himself, followed by all the accomplishments of his team. Thomson is a selfless athlete, something you don't see very often. That is what sets him apart from the other athletes. Thomson is not greedy and strongly believes in order to be the best, you have to work for it – it's earned
Jake Thomson set foot on Humber College's campus in the summer of 2013 with the type of energy that could not be found anywhere else. He brought passion to the sport, self-discipline and the confidence that everyone strives for. He did not know what to expect from his first year at Humber. He learned very quickly that Humber's athletics department isn't like anything he had ever seen before. It's a community, where everyone respects one another and pushes each other for greatness. Everyone in Humber's athletic department is family. Without knowing it, Thomson would become a great addition to the Humber College family.
Thomson met his fellow coaches, Teresa Arnini and Monique Hann, prior to the start of the school year. In the summer of 2013 they gave him the run-down of the college. By introducing him to a number of athletes, as well as to the North and Lakeshore campuses. Along with being introduced to a number of staff members and athletes, Jake was introduced to Doug Fox, who was previously the athletic director for Humber College.
Right out the get-go they made me feel like a part of the team. Honestly, I don't think it was the school itself that brought me here, I think it was the team. They were so welcoming. I felt like a member of the team even before the first tryout
Coming straight from high school, Thomson only knew three basic things about running: run fast, run hard and run as many kilometres as you can. This is what high school taught him. High school was also where he discovered his new passion for cross country. Previously, and still to this day, Thomson is a track and field athlete. The only distance Thomson knew how to run was 400 metres. In high school his coach, who he dearly admires, encouraged him to join the cross country team. His coach expressed he had no expectations; he was simply doing it so that Thomson could add more mileage and become a better track sprinter. As his high school cross country career went on, he soon become a vital part of the team.
Going into tryouts at Humber College, Thomson didn't know what to expect from the team or from the coaches. The coaches placed him in the front group, telling him to follow along and go until he couldn't handle it anymore. The workout that day was 2.2 kilometre repeats in preparation for the upcoming CCAA Nationals being held at Humber.
"I'm going to say they did about five and I got three. I ended up tapping out at three because I couldn't handle it. Immediately I went to my high school coach. He is amazing, definitely had a big part withmaking me what I am. I knew what he was going to tell me: "Get in there, just finish it no matter what, show guts. DO it regardless." He didn't really care about the excuses. I immediately got mad at myself, like dammit, what am I doing? It was the most confusing thing for me when Monique came up to me and put her arm around me and said, "Hey don't worry about it, it's all good, there is always the next one. We'll fix it, figure out what we did wrong." And I'm like, why aren't you yelling at me? Why aren't you telling me I screwed up? What do you mean? When Monique was telling me it is okay and I have nothing to worry about, I was like wow this is definitely a different place. I would later learn that it is the right place for me to be"
A new perspective
This sport has changed Thomson; it has given him a new side of doing things, not only as an athlete but as a person. This team and his coaches have developed him into the person he is today and is forever grateful for the opportunity. Thomson has been the captain of the men's cross country team for two years in a row. He expresses it as an unbelievable experience. Being in this position has only forced him to develop himself as a human being, an athlete and a leader. Thomson has gone in a positive direction and cannot express enough how thankful he is for his coaches and teammates. Thomson also has to give credit to his best friend and teammate, Simon Wells.
"Even though he doesn't wear the 'C' on his jersey, I think Simon Wells is an amazing leader on the team and having him there has made me develop. I hope I have helped my teammates develop as well. First yearJake to fifthyear Jake are totally two different people"
"My perspective of the sport is way different. Again, I thank my coaches. They turned me into a very methodical athlete. In firstyear, all I knew was "go out and run hard" – hope you do well and now, I'm very strategic in every single part and aspect of it. I'm trying to go through everything. I want everything to be a certain way. As an athleteI've definitely changed. I'm way more methodical than I ever was"
"I just replay this in my head on a daily basis. It was my second year in 2014 when the team won Nationals. The men's cross country team won Nationals and it was big because we were the second male team in the OCAA to win the cross country Nationals. We were the first team besides Fanshawe to win Nationals and we were the first in the history of Humber's Men's cross country to win. That is huge! I was there as the alternative. I ran at Provincials and helped the team to qualify. Being a part of it was the most unreal experience. Just seeing Dan Bright and Eric Bang, and Sam KirwIn. Watching Darren Mancini run his last race as a Hawk was unreal. We made such a huge scene and I wouldn't change anything about it. How do you beat that? You were just crowned the best team in Canada with your boys"
Thomson's best race couldn't have come at a better time. Every coach and peer around him knew how hard he had worked. They saw it every day at practice and on his own time. He was able to run his best race of his college cross country career at the 2017 CCAA Championship in Blainville, Quebec. His first ever Nationals out of the five years and he sure made it a race that he would remember. Everyone else would remember it too.
"Lucky enough to end my athletic career at Humber with my best race ever. I set a personal best as well as time. I think strategically, I ran my best race. They always say to run, give it your all and leave it all out on the course. This race is when I definitely did that. For years I was struggling to get under 29 minutes and then it was cool on my very last race to go under 28 minutes. I ran a 27:41. Grinding out most of the race side-by-side with my best friend and teammate, Simon Wells. I credit him; he was probably the reason I ran so well."
Check the Boxes
"In my sportI have learned that there are many more boxes to check to be a complete athlete then what I thought. When I first got here I was all about working hard, run as many miles as you can as fast as you can. I have learned there is a lot more to it. To be a well-rounded athlete you have to train as a well-rounded athlete. That is the biggest thing I've learned in the sport. As a person, I've learned that I definitely have a lot more to give than what I expected. There are so many avenues of life – whether it is work life, love life, social life, there are so many avenues you can go up. They can all be beneficial to you if you choose to look at them that way"
"I know for sure, after being a college athlete, working in college athletics, and being an intern in college athletics, that collegiate sports isthe place I want be. I would like it to be at Humber College. Humber has developed me in every single way – as a person as an athlete as a worker and of course, as a student. I would love to take all the skills I've learned at Humber and use them at Humber and make Humber a better place. That would be incredible to me; it would be the opportunity of a lifetime. Even if it's not at Humber, collegiate sports is where I'd like to be: in this environment and being around student athletes, the athletic staff, everyone from the faculty, the manager, sports information, and therapy. It is a great community to be a part of. I would love to make my mark on that"
Byline: Danielle Dupuis is a student in the bachelor of public relations program at Humber College's School of Media Studies. Danielle can be reached by email, email@example.com