SCOTLAND, UNITED KINGDOM — University of Mount Olive Track and Field and Cross Country alumnus Adam Craig 18’ has been hard at work since graduating from UMO a year ago. He has signed a professional endorsement running contract, continued his running endeavors, and most recently added one of the most honorable titles to his name: Scottish Cross Country National Champion.
Craig won the Scottish National Championship in a time of 33:50 nearly a minute ahead of the second place finisher. Craig’s club team Inverclyde Athletic Club (IAC) also won some hardware coming in third overall. The road for Craig’s National title started long before the race in February of 2019.
The Lauder, Scotland native moved to Glasgow not long after graduating from UMO in May 2018. This move was a tactical one in order to be closer to better facilities and to allow his training to progress. It was not long after the move that his decision was proven correct as six weeks into training Craig won the Great Scottish 10km in Glasgow in 29:43. The boost in confidence helped motivate the training schedule that was being monitored from someone with ties to Mount Olive, Craig’s old coach Matt van Lierop.
“Coach van Lierop has brought me on great lengths and has got me to where I am, and I want to enjoy these experiences of representing my country and performing at a high level and sharing them with him,” said Craig.
Running for Scotland was something Craig missed out on with the NCAA season while at Mount Olive, although with the times he was running he would have been up for selection. “When I came home it was great to be able to put myself forward for selection at these races I had previously missed with being in America,” said Craig. While running for his club team IAC the doors continued to open up and he signed a contract to run professionally with Joma Sport UK.
“Signing my first kit (uniform) contract with Joma came about from their partnership with Scottish Athletics. They were looking for athletes who were looking for some extra support that might not be at a level where the big companies would offer anything. So it was great to get that opportunity to represent the Joma brand.”
With all of that now firmly in hand, Craig had the national championship in his pocket as well and reminisced about the race that helped catapult his career.
“The race was actually very firm under foot which is what I was used to after my time at Mount Olive, so that allowed me to get into my stride early and run away from the rest of the field. There was no real mud at this one which suited me and my style of running well. Cross country is where it all started for me when I was younger, and that race has been won by some of Scotland’s top athletes over the year, so to get my name on that trophy was special,” described Craig.
So what is up next for the Scottish Champion? The summer training season proved to be a profitable one as Craig signed his first professional running contract with Team New Balance Manchester and has just moved to Manchester, England to begin the next journey of his professional career.
Craig is also very thankful for his time at Mount Olive and what the experiences being a Trojan did to help him get to where he is now. “Athletically being at UMO allowed me to learn about how my body works best and under the guidance of Coach Matt I able to get the most out of myself. The lifestyle at Mount Olive has transferred back to Scotland and continued my progression as an athlete. So without Coach Matt, my three years at UMO and the position I am in now, I don’t know what my career would have been but UMO has given me the chance to chase the experiences I may not have achieved otherwise in my athletic career.”