How did your running journey start?
My Dad is a boxing coach and used to take his boxers on early morning runs in Trent Park on Saturday mornings. I was really keen on running and so my Dad used to take me with him when I was about 10/11. At the boxing club was a lovely man called Alf Camp, who knew Ron Stone at Orion…my training started then!
What were/are your main/favourite distances?
What would you consider your greatest personal athletic achievement, and what did it mean to you?
In terms of times, it was when I ran 2:11 for 800m at the SESSA (South of England Universities) championships at Lee Valley – I can’t explain what that race felt like! Achievement-wise it has to be winning the senior bronze medal at the Essex XC Championships at Hadleigh. It was the hardest race I have ever done.
How did/has your approach to running change throughout your career?
When I first started at Orion, I was still doing quite a few other sports, so I didn’t take it as seriously. As I got older I started to drop the other sports, and at the age of 18 I decided I wanted to train harder with the aim of getting my 800m time down. I had a few years where I took running very seriously and I loved it. Because of injuries and setbacks, running is all about enjoyment for me nowadays.
Favourite race you’ve seen and why
When I was four years old I remember watching Sally Gunnell run in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and winning the gold medal. For a lot of my childhood, my main ambition was to be an Olympian just like Sally Gunnell.
What injuries have you had, how did you treat them, and how did it affect you mentally?
It’s a lot easier if I list them!
- Plantar fasciitis
- Metatarsal fractures
- Torn hamstring
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Multiple ankle sprains
- Avulsion fracture in my ankle
- Trapped sciatic nerve
- Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
- Morton’s neuroma
My first bad injury was the plantar fasciitis and it was at a period where I felt like I was running well and had a lot to give. That was very tough mentally, as it was hard watching everyone else still training and competing when I couldn’t. Going on from there, I’d get a few good months’ of training in and I’d had another setback, so it was difficult. As time has gone on I’m better able to deal with injuries now, and I appreciate and enjoy just being able to run more than anything else.
What was/has been your number one challenge throughout your career, and how did you overcome it?
Every time I got an injury it would knock me back both physically and mentally and I have taken a few small time-outs from running, but I ALWAYS want to come back. You have to enjoy what you’re doing and that’s the most important thing. I think a big part of overcoming the injuries was the support I got from my coaches and friends at Orion – I enjoy the social side of the club as much as the training and competing. My family has been amazing and I’m lucky that at my age I still get a group of family supporters coming out to see me race when I can, which makes me happy.
What is your number one piece of advice?
Enjoy and appreciate the ability to run