Graham Williamson’s son wins German title but wants to run for Great Britain
He might have won the German under-18 title at 800m last year, but Jamie Williamson has Scottish blood running through his veins and hopes to run for Great Britain one day.
The teenager is the son of Graham and Carole Williamson and he seems to have inherited his parents’ talent. Graham still holds the Scottish senior record for one mile with 3:50.64, UK under-20 records at 1500m and the mile, plus every Scottish junior record from 800m to 3000m, while Carole ran 4:12.58 for 1500m and 9:00.21 for 3000m racing under her maiden name of Bradford.
“If I got the opportunity to run internationally then I would run for Britain and not for Germany,” says Jamie, who ran 1:51.83 last year aged 17. “After I won the under-18 800m title last summer I was offered a place in the German squad but I declined.”
The youngster continues: “The reason was because I had to serve one year for being a foreigner even though I had been in multiple German sports clubs (including another athletics club) when I was younger and also because I would rather run for Britain.
“Last autumn I registered myself with Scottish Athletics and joined Springburn Harriers – my dad’s old club,” he adds. “I try to follow athletics in Britain – I have a subscription to AW – but it is sometimes difficult to keep up with it living abroad.”
Jamie moved to Germany when he was three years old due to Graham’s work for sports footwear giants Adidas and they live in Herzogenaurach. “I attend an international school which I have done my whole schooling life,” Jamie explains. “I always go over to Britain at least once a year and I usually come across in the summer to Bristol which is where my mum’s mum lives.”
“I try to follow athletics in Britain – I have a subscription to AW – but it is sometimes difficult to keep up with it living abroad”
On his running progression, he says: “I only really started taking athletics seriously about three years ago, when I was 15. Before that I used to play football and I ran some local races which I would quite often win but I preferred playing football. Then when I was in grade nine (year 10) my school joined the GISST (German International Schools Sports Tournament) and I ran cross country in the autumn and track and field in spring and summer.
“At this point I was only training about three times a week but I won some titles and set some GISST records on the track. This was the beginning of my running career as I realised I was better at running than at football so decided that I wanted to take it more seriously.
“The next autumn when I was in grade 10 (year 11) I stopped playing football and joined an athletics club – LAC Quelle Fuerth. However for my first winter and summer I was not allowed to compete at championship races because I was foreign and I had to wait for one year.”
Jamie says he only began to taste national success in the past year. He is guided by a club coach called Harald Schmaus but receives advice from his parents too. His dad, after all, was a prodigious junior who ran 3:36.6 for 1500m and 3:53.15 for the mile as an under-20 in addition to winning European junior and World Student Games gold medals, although his career was also bedevilled with bad luck and injuries that led to retirement aged 26.
“Last year I was in my final year as an under-18 and I won multiple Bayern titles, including indoor, cross country and outdoor titles and these were my first titles in Germany,” says Jamie, pictured above with his dad on the right and his coach on the left.
“In the winter I competed in the German cross country but finished 11th. Then in the summer my team and I came second in the German under-20 3x1000m which was my first ever medal at national level. A few weeks later I competed in the German under-18 800m and came first.”
Later this year Jamie hopes to start at Loughborough University if his exam results go well. “Last autumn I went across to the university and I met up with George Gandy and some of the athletes like Guy Learmonth and I really enjoyed it,” he says.
It’s all in the genes
Leading athletes with talented parents to thank (from Scottish/GB endurance running alone!)
» Lynsey Sharp: 800m star is the daughter of sprinter Cameron Sharp and 800m international Carol Lightfoot
» Jake Wightman: Scottish miler is the son of marathoners Susan Tooby and Geoff Wightman
» Eilish McColgan: steeplechaser’s mum is Liz McColgan and dad is former steeplechaser Peter
» Hannah Nuttall: runs in this weekend’s World Cross and her parents are former World Cross competitors Alison Wyeth and John Nuttall