One is a relief teacher specialising in the marathon, the other a grade 8 student with a preference for 400 metres, but the two Josh Harrises at Kings Meadows High School present impressive running credentials.
Harris Senior is a multiple state middle-distance champion whose running exploits took him to last year’s athletics world championships in London.
Harris Junior may be half his age but has won the Northern schools cross-country title and followed up on the track at the Northern High School Sports Association division 1 carnival last week by winning the 100m, 200m, 400m and long jump events and coming second in the javelin.
Sharing the same name, classroom and athleticism, the namesakes are also familiar with each other’s credentials.
“I heard his name before he got to high school but since he’s been winning everything a lot of people make the link between our names,” said Harris Senior, 28.
“I think he’s definitely good at those shorter events but has an engine for cross-country as well. It’s good to see someone with so much talent and I hope he sticks at it. The next three or four years will be important to see how far he can progress.
“At his age the most important thing is just to enjoy it. Obviously he’s very talented, particularly at those power events.”
Harris Junior has just turned 14 but has been competing in little athletics at Youngtown for nine years.
Despite his eye-catching results on the track and in cross-country, the former Youngtown Primary pupil isn’t expecting to follow his namesake’s world championship footsteps just yet.
“I first found out he worked here a couple of years ago and it’s amazing that he’s been able to go to these big events,” he said.
“He definitely gives me someone to look up to.
“But I’m just enjoying running at the moment and seeing how far I can go.”
A year after surgery on a stress fracture of his talus bone sustained shortly before the world titles, Harris Senior is gradually rebuilding his running schedule and plans to tackle the mile at Launceston Carnival and Cadbury 5km in Hobart.
“I did 39km last week. That’s a lot less than 200 but a lot bigger than I have been doing. I’m just taking it day by day and doing a few low-key events. My body tells me when I cannot run.”
But he has no plans to take on Junior.
“I’ve been pretty injured since I’ve known him so we haven’t really run together – and anyway he would show me up over the shorter stuff.”