Osian Perrin is in for a busy few weeks.

Meet Osian Perrin . . . The Welsh Youngster Running (Fast) Into The Future With Olympic Glory On His Mind

He’s one of the most exciting, and busiest, young athletes in Wales – runner, triathlete, Commonwealth Games hopeful, Olympic dream-chaser and still only 18 years old. Osian Perrin is a young man in a hurry. Owen Morgan just about caught up with him.

“The summer is made for racing, so why not make the most if it?”

Those were the words of Osian Perrin when I gasped at the Anglesey teenager’s up-coming schedule.

On Wednesday August 11, Perrin competes in the tier 1 Super Series Triathlon event at Mallory Park in Leicestershire.

Three days later, the 18-year-old will be in Cardiff where he plans to compete in the 1500m and 5,000m at the Welsh Senior Athletics Championships across the weekend of the 14 and 15th.

The following Wednesday, the human dynamo is hoping to be selected for either the Wales Senior team or Great Britain Under-20s at the Manchester Athletics International.

On August 29, he plans to be back down in Cardiff for the Welsh 5K road championships.

As I try to keep up, with not just the physical, but the logistical challenges of this timetable, Perrin adds: “Then, I’ve got another triathlon at Mallory Park, which is the World Championships qualifiers.”

All this after he contracted Covid-19 in the weeks leading up to his Great Britain debut over 5,000m at the European Under-20 Athletics Championships in Estonia last month.

But these are the kind of mind-boggling schedules you have to live with when your ambition is to not only compete for Wales on the athletics track at next year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games – but also in the triathlon.

Osian Perrin also has big ambitions as a triathlete.

And Perrin’s goals don’t end there. He has the athletics timetable at the Paris Olympics in his sights and the Los Angeles Games of 2028 beyond that – where he is targeting another athletics and triathlon double mission.

However, the Menai Track and Field athlete’s immediate focus is on gaining an athletics qualifying standard for next summer’s Commonwealth Games.

The main question at the moment for the Welsh Under-17 3,000m and 5,000m under-20 record holder is which distance to try and qualify for.

The hugely versatile Andrew Walling-coached athlete has a wide distance range.

Last year he clocked a 1,500m personal best of 3:56.41 and won the Welsh under-17 cross country title.

Perrin says he is currently leaning towards the 5,000m having run 13:53 when he broke the Welsh Under-20 record at Watford earlier this summer.

“My major aim now is to try and get to the Commonwealths. I want to try and get the standard. It’s 13:33 and I really believe I can get that.

“But I want to try and carry on doing well at the 1500 metres as well. So I am going to target some 1500 metres races, try and get the Commonwealth time for that too.

 

“But I think the standard so far for the 1500 metres is very high in Wales, so I’ll probably just see if I can get the 5k standard and see if I can get in the team for that.

“I’ll be in Cardiff to do the senior Welsh Championships, where I’ll be doing the 1500 and the 5,000, and then I’ll be down in Cardiff again to do the Welsh road 5k champs as well.”

But Perrin won’t be neglecting his Commonwealth Games triathlon ambitions, which he will carry on chasing alongside his athletics goals at the upcoming triathlon events he has planned.

His triathlon pedigree is just as impressive as his athletics achievements. In the last full season of competition, he won the Youth category in the British Youth and Junior Triathlon Super Series

Asked whether he felt compelled to make a decision between athletics or triathlon if he qualified for both at Birmingham, Perrin said: “I’m not going to make a choice yet.

“I’m just going to see what happens and hopefully I don’t have to make a choice. I really do believe I can avoid it and do both.”

Perrin takes inspiration from Tokyo Olympics gold and silver medal winning triathlete Alex Yee, who is also a top class 10,000m runner.

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Also in his favour is the traditional gap in the schedules between the triathlon and the athletics at major events like the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.

“A good example is Alex Yee,” says Perrin. “I think he probably could have made the Olympic team for the 10K as well but he decided to just do the triathlon.

“At the Tokyo Olympics the triathlon’s been first and the athletics is later on – a week after. So if they go for the same formula, which it usually is, then I could quite possibly do both.”

Another factor in Perrin’s favour is that at the Commonwealth Games the triathlon is contested over the shorter sprint distance rather than the Olympic distance.

However, that’s not to say the youngster has ruled out also doubling up at the Olympics – if not at the 2024 Paris games, then the Los Angeles event four years later.

“I want to try and get to the next Olympics at athletics, and then the 2028 Olympics for triathlon and athletics. I think triathlon is more of an age sport, like it’s rare you see a 21-year-old or 22-year olds go into the Olympic triathlon in the men’s.”

Perrin’s appetite for representing Great Britain at major events has been whetted by competing at last month’s European Under-20 Championships in Tallinn.

Osian Perrin.

However, the whole experience was almost ruined when he tested positive for Covid in the run up to the event – making his fifth place finish in the 5,000m final all the more impressive.

“I hadn’t had the best preparation coming up to it. I caught Covid around two weeks before it, which didn’t help, but coming fifth, I was very pleased, considering the circumstances.

“I didn’t have any symptoms but mentally it really affected me. When I could have started training again, I didn’t. I really struggled. But then I managed to pick myself up and I got the motivation again.

“I probably started training again just the week before the event. I think because I had so much fitness prior to having Covid I managed to not lose too much going into it.”

Perrin also had to compete with searing heat during the final, which unfortunately preceded the heatwave enjoyed in the UK during mid-July.

“28 degrees was a lot hotter than what I was used to, which was a shame really because if it was two weeks later, then I’d have probably been acclimatised because of the way the weather was here in Wales!

“So, I was really pleased but also a bit disappointed because I think I could have medalled had I not got Covid.

“But that’s what happens in sports, you can’t always decide what happens. You’ve just got to take what happens – and a lot happens! I did the best I could after catching it and fifth isn’t bad.”

Despite the disrupted preparation and the heat, Perrin enjoyed the overall experience of competing at a major championships.

 

“Definitely,” he says with typical enthusiasm. “Seeing all of the other countries there prior to the event, at the track, training, eating food, was amazing. Knowing that some of them would be my competitors and they were the best from their countries as well.

“The whole experience was great and the preparation coming up to it, like trying to adjust to the heat, being in a hotel in the run up to the race, different foods . . . it was just really good. A really great experience.”

If Perrin is to achieve his multiple goals he is going to need all that experience and the support of his family – especially with all the travelling to and from Anglesey.

Appropriately enough, when I speak to him during his busy schedule, his father is driving him back up to north Wales.

The youngster is quick to acknowledge the support he gets to chase his multiple dreams.

“My dad does an awful lot for me. He does all the driving for me, helps me with all my nutrition and helps organise my training.

“He enters me in races and helps me find good races. I couldn’t do all this on my own. So, I’m really lucky to have such great parents.

“I honestly wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for what they do.”

Summer may be made for running, but there’s also going to be a fair amount of driving to be done by the Perrin family over the next few weeks.

 

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