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Thursday, December 16, 2010

AHS student is All-American runner

Ahmed Bile at finish line.
Annandale High School’s champion runner Ahmed Bile started the cross country season this fall with a sprained foot that kept him out of most meets, then finished up as an All American, coming in 14th in the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships in San Diego Dec. 11.

That was the biggest highlight of his running career so far, said Ahmed, a junior. He ran the 5K course in 15 minutes, 33 seconds. But it was not his best 5K time, he said, noting that it was a rough course with a couple of steep hills. He was one of only four competitors from Virginia and the only one of the four to finish in the top 20, reports MileStat, a website that covers Virginia high school track and cross country events.

About two weeks ago he won the Virginia State AAA Championship with a time of 15:29. And in November, he came in fourth in the Southern Regional Championship in Charlotte, N.C., with a time of 15.02, which qualified him for nationals.

“My parents are really proud of me,” Ahmed said, “especially since I got All American.” The Annandale student newspaper, the A-Blast, notes that Ahmed’s father, Abdi Bile, was the 1987 World Champion in the 1500-meter race and was the first Somali runner to achieve the title of World Champion in that event, and Ahmed’s uncle. Jama Bile, was a national champion in high school in the one-mile and was 23rd in the U.S. cross country championship in 1991.

Despite the champion runners in his family, Ahmed didn’t pursue running and only discovered he had a gift for the sport about a year ago. He’d been a soccer player and joined the AHS cross country team to get into shape for soccer. “I realized I really like running and left the soccer team,” he said.

Ahmed is thinking about running for a Division I college, possibly UVA, North Carolina, Georgetown, or Wisconsin. “Some schools are interested in me but they can’t talk to me until July 1,” he says. “I’m not sure about going pro yet,” he said.

Meanwhile, he plans to run for AHS on the winter and spring track teams, where he specializes in the one mile and 1,000-meter races and the 4x800 and 4x400 relays. Last spring, he won Districts with a 4:18 mile, and his relay team ran the 4x800 relay in a record-breaking 7:52.

Ahmed practices one or two hours every day, six days a week, even during the recent cold spell. Despite all that running, he still has time to earn a 3.6 GPA while taking three International Baccalaureate courses and serve as secretary of Annandale’s Young Democrats club.

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