Freshman cross country runner Tom Curr used to think the Bulls were a football team and Michael Jordan played for Space Jam.
Born and raised in Stroud, England, Curr is truly tasting America for the first time —before coming to Indianapolis, his only other visit to America was to Disneyland.
He chose Butler over seven other college athletics scholarship offers,and said he wanted to run for the Bulldogs because of the small campus feel and its renowned athletic programs.
Although Curr may not be up-to-date on his American sports news, one skill he learned back home is just as valuable on this side of the Atlantic: running. During his running career in the United Kingdom, Curr was named SIAB Cross Country Champion, English Schools 3000 meter champion, SIAB 3000 meter Champion, AAA u17 1500 meter champion. Curr’s Butler track record has also started strong, including a 29th place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational, making him the second Bulldog to finish the 220-person race. The Collegian caught up with the runner to learn more about his college experience so far:
Q: Why did you choose to go to school abroad?
Curr: I pretty much decided I didn’t want to study at a university back home, and then an offer came in to study over here. I had a fair few offers, but Butler seemed like a good choice. I knew a few people from Butler, but the main reason was that athletics over here are a lot more professionally thought of. It’s just a better set up in general for athletics, and that’s where my main focus is.
Q: What other schools recruited you besides Butler?
Curr: North Carolina was the first to approach me, Kentucky, Iona, Philadelphia… there are about seven in total, but Butler was always my first choice.
Q: And why was Butler always your first choice?
Curr: As I said, I knew a few people who were here already from back home, and that was a good thing because they were telling me positive things about Butler. But also Coach Dauson, who’s from Scotland, when he was back home for Christmas came and saw me in person, which obviously the other coaches couldn’t do, which was really a big positive. He laid down some really good, positive things about the school. I also liked the fact that it was a small school because I came from a really small school back home.
Q: Did you ever visit Indianapolis or the US before going to school here?
Curr: I went to Disneyland when I was really young, but other than that I’ve never been to the states.
Q: What has the college experience been like for you so far?
Curr: It’s been really good. Everyone is really friendly here in America, which is really nice. You can be walking down the street and someone will be like, ‘Hey how ya doin,’ and you wouldn’t get that back home. I really like the campus as well, the closeness of it. Even is Hinkle is disappointingly far away.
Q: How have academics been?
Curr: To be honest, I didn’t come across with the right attitude. Being signed predominantly for running, academics weren’t really discussed with me. The whole coming across to study journalism, I then had to study math as well, which wouldn’t be the same back home. I failed pretty badly in the first couple of weeks, the first few tests. But I had a little talk with my coach, and talked with the academic advisor and things, and it’s going a lot better now. I’m passing all my classes.
Q: What’s the running atmosphere like here, compared to the UK?
Curr: It’s massively different. It’s a lot more team orientated here. Whereas when I was running back home cross country is all about individuals, especially for me since I wasn’t on a great team. Here it’s more about a collective team. It’s just a different emphasis on team performance.
Q: Is there one style you prefer?
Curr: I’m struggling to adapt to the whole team thing. I want to beat all my teammates, badly, and it annoys me when they beat me. Whereas I think, if they run really well, I should really be thinking that’s good for them. But I like this team thing. You bond a lot more.