Walk of Fame: Will Barnicoat

European U20 and U23 cross-country champion and European U23 5000m medallist

Will Barnicoat (bib number 3459) winner of the U17 Men’s Cross Country at Loughborough, 7 March 2020.
Photo credit: Mark Shearman

Will’s introduction to running came through cross country while at secondary school before turning his sights to the track, a move which saw him compete at both the English Schools’ Cross Country and English Schools’ Athletic Association championships between 2017 and 2019.

In his first year at English Schools’ Will finished 9th in the 4km Cross Country, and 10th in the 1500m finals. 2018 saw him move up to 5.2km Cross Country where he finished 23rd, and to 3000m on the track where he took bronze.
2019 was his stand-out year at English Schools’; he took silver in the 5.2 km Cross Country and gold 3000m on the track.

Will competed again at the English Schools’ Cross Country in 2020 over the longer distance of 6.7km and finishing 5th. That same year he became English National U17 Cross Country champion, before taking the title of English National Junior Cross Country champion in 2022, a title he successfully defended in 2023.
Beyond domestic competition, Will won individual and team gold at the U20 Cross Country Championships in 2022, and became European U23 Cross Country champion in 2023 alongside another team gold.

On the track, 2023 saw Will take bronze in the 5000m at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Espoo, Finland while in March 2024 he competed at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, finishing 27th in what he describes as, “one of the best races tactically I’ve ever run.”

Will is now seeking to expand his track events, setting his sights on both the 5000m and the 1500m and aiming for a Team GB vest in the near future.

Will’s advice for English Schools’ athletes

English Schools’ was the first major competition I competed in on track. The first time I ran it, I was nervous, but the experience gained at English Schools’ has been invaluable to me today when I’m on the start line in a major competition.

Be bold in your race – and enjoy the experience!

For more information about the England Athletics Talent Pathways,
including Youth and Paralympic pathways, and for information about the
Amateur Athletic Association Charity for the Young funding opportunities,
use the links below

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Research: Ben Costello