A young boy’s dream is fulfilled as he goes through years of training but at the last hurdle he becomes injured. An injury that could threaten his career forever.

Thomas wants to be an athlete and begins to train as one when he is talent scouted at his school sports day. 'Believe' tells of his journey to Olympic glory.
It is completely fictional.


3. The Begining

      A new school term was about to begin. After all the hard work of preparing for Anna to start at Maywood Primary School and for Tom to begin training at Saffron Park Lane and a different style of lessons, everything was ready.

         They had spent half of the summer searching for Anna’s school uniform: a grey pleated skirt, grey school tights, a white blouse, a blue cardigan with Maywood Primary School’s badge on it and shiny black Velcro school shoes. It had been difficult to find all of them, especially with Anna being small for her age.

       The family had spent the other half of the summer looking for Tom’s outfits. For lessons he needed: black trousers, a plain white polo shirt, a black sweatshirt and any type of trainers, as long as they were excellent for running in! For his training he had to have a tracksuit with a white polo shirt and trainers.

             Anna was waiting to leave with a pink and purple rucksack on her back containing lots of stationary and her packed lunch.

           Tom had on his new outfit and had a lightweight sports bag strung across his back containing his lunch, school clothes and basic equipment.

“I’m nervous, Dad,” Tom whispered. “I don’t think Jamie will like me or be impressed with my running skills.”

“He will, son. You just need to do your best, that’s all. He’ll be pleased with that.” Dad tried to calm Tom’s nerves as Tom was nearly at bursting point.

“Mum, I don’t want to go to!” Anna screamed. “I don’t like Maywood Primary School. It’s horrible!”

“Darling, you have to go, and you know how much Tom loved to go.” Mum pleaded. Anna kept on kicking her.

      As soon as the clock struck nine, Mum took Anna in the shiny blue Clio to Maywood Primary School and Dad took Tom to the top of the road where Jamie was going to collect them.

      Just as they arrived, Jamie pulled up in his big, silver Mercedes. Tom and Dad got in and looked at the smooth, shiny leather seats in amazement. They sat silently for the entire ten minute journey, taking in their surroundings. They were gobsmacked by the exquisiteness of the car and how rich Jamie must be.

 “Feeling alright, Tom?” asked Jamie. He looked back at Tom, concerned. Tom pulled an ‘I-feel-sorry-for-myself’ look.

“Yeah, I suppose so.” Tom sighed.

       Very soon they arrived at the training grounds. Dad got out and followed the directions to Jamie’s office. He walked through a door labelled ‘Mr Moore Only.’ Tom and Jamie followed Dad into the office.

         It was very big with papers scattered all over the desks and the floor. At the top, there were a couple of pieces of paper containing a lot of information about Tom. Tom had a quick peak at the papers. Wow, he thought, a whole piece of paper all for him.




Name: Thomas George Starkés

Age (when started training): 11

Birthday: 7th April 1998

Address: 16 Luckyn Lane



Family Members: Philo Starkes (Dad), Lizzie Starkes (Mum), Anna Starkes (Sister)

Noticed at: Maywood Primary School, Basildon

Past experience: Sports Day’s

Medals/Trophies: ‘Best Runner’ (from Sports Day)

Train with: James Moore

Hopes for them: Hopefully, go for gold in the Olympics and possibly put him in for little races like Teenage Championships first. I have high expectations for him.


Photograph: Thomas Starkés, age 12




           Tom turned back to Dad and Jamie.

“Right then, we’ll start you off with Zac, I think you have the same ability,” mused Jamie. “Philo, you can leave Tom now if you want to.”

“O.K” Dad replied. “Bye, Tom!”

“Bye Dad, see you later,” Tom muttered.

      He knew everything would be alright but he thought he knew Zac and was certain that he was going to be evil. This worried Tom a lot.

“Tom, could you get changed into your tracksuit please. We will start in 15 minutes or so.” Jamie called.

“Sure.” Tom called back.

      He was ready for this. He would show Janie and Zac what he was really made of, although he wasn’t quite sure himself. He ran off and pulled on his brand new black and red tracksuit and white polo shirt. He looked at himself in the mirror. Cool! he thought. Then, he walked over to the track where Zac and Jamie were waiting for him.

“Hey Tom, your tracksuit looks really cool!” Zac told Tom.

“Thanks, Zac!” Tom answered. He noticed that Zac was wearing an expensive black and gold one.

“Zac, Tom, we’ll start off by having a slow jog around the track and then we will do some stretching. Off you go!” Jamie ordered, giving the boys a push.

     Tom stumbled forward; the track seemed too springy for his liking. Zac knew what he was doing though.

“Come on, Tom. Just run like you usually do.” Zac shouted out encouragement. Tom decided that he liked Zac. He had been wrong to misjudge him like that. Zac was really very kind.

       Very soon, Tom had finished jogging round the track and was stretching his legs using various methods. Jamie had just told him how well he was doing and Tom was feeling very proud and slightly big-headed.

“Tom,” Jamie’s voice cut through Tom’s thoughts. “I want to see you run the 100 metres. Get into your positions please.”

       Tom jogged to his place in the second lane in. This was where he usually ran best on Sports Days. Zac went on the opposite side so he wouldn’t distract Tom.

“Ready, Set, Go!” screamed Jamie. Tom was off; he felt like he was flying through the air, it was a wonderful feeling.

 “Well done, Tom! That was amazing, only 14 seconds 15.” Jamie was impressed.

“Wow, Tom! You’re nearly faster than me and I’m pretty fast!” Zac commented.

“How fast are you, Zac?” Tom asked shyly. He was desperate to know.

“I can run it in 13 seconds 53,” Zac bragged. Wow, thought Tom.

“Lunch break and then lessons this afternoon, is that all right Tom?” Jamie asked.

“Sure,” Tom said, he was starving from the morning’s hard work.

     Tom got out his packed lunch and tucked in. His Dad had packed him two large egg mayonnaise sandwiches, a packet of Walkers cheese and onion crisps, a crisp, juicy rosy red apple and a slice of Mum’s gorgeous homemade gooey chocolate fudge cake.  It tasted wonderful.

     In the afternoon, Tom did a few lessons with three other boys’. Tom sat next to a very clever boy called Matt and behind them were Jason, who was slightly snobbish and big-headed, and Tim, who was cool and laid back.

        The boy’s studied an hour of Maths which was really boring according to Tom, as he hated Maths, an hour of Art in which the boy’s painted detailed pictures by Monet and an hour of science where they blew lots of things up and did experiments. Tom enjoyed this part of the lesson the most. Then they had some free time for extra work before they were allowed to go home and rest for the next day’s work.

        Tom had thoroughly enjoyed the day and he was glad that he had the opportunity to do this. He had made friends with Zac, Matt and Tim, so he knew he could rely on people at training. Tom had had so much fun and he would have to tell Olli every single detail when he saw him again.


When Tom did see Olli again, there was a lot of excitement.

“Guess what? Mum and Dad let me do this running training!”

“Ah, no wonder you weren’t at Peakville High School on Monday. I thought you might be ill. No one knew where you were and the teachers were none the wiser.” Olli cut in, “Tell me about it then!”

        Tom told Olli all about Zac, Tim, Matt and Jason, the lessons he had had to complete and the things his class had blown up, like ants under a magnifying glass in the sun. Tom talked about the training and what Jamie expected from him. He told Olli that he would love it there too. Olli agreed that it sounded fabulous.

        Throughout the whole explanation Olli remained silent, taking in all the detail that Tom was telling him and making up daydreams of him going to all these competitions and him winning all of the medals, not Tom. When Tom eventually finished Olli asked hundreds of questions about life training for athletics. Olli was so envious of Tom but he wasn’t going to show it, Tom deserved it, after all.

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