After that I became addicted to running and racing. The next couple of years were very successful: I came 3rd at the English Schools Final, then 2nd in 2010, even after months of a reoccurring hamstring injury.
In 2010 I had partly recovered before the English schools Championships but still had some remaining pain in my hamstring. I remember vividly being in tears a week before the competition as I still in pain and was worried I would miss out on my last year of racing at the school level competition. I decided to compete in the finals regardless, as I did not want to look back and think ‘What if’. I did not do any training prior to the competition, however with this said I still made it to the final and came 2nd. I was proud of myself and happy as it was the last year that I could represent my county at a national level for that competition. Who knows, if I was fitter, I like to think I would have won that race.
2010 English Schools Final, I had been injured all season but I made it to the final. A week prior I was considering not to go due to the injury. I came 2nd and took silver.
What kept you so motivated to compete after being injured and hardly training?
I would hate to look back and know that I had not tried, I would always be thinking what if? It sounds silly, but when it comes to big races, I have the mindset that I am prepared to die out there. I am prepared to push my body to the limit and if something unfortunate happens to me, then so be it.
You mentioned you wanted to become a plumber but eventually went into athletics. How did it come about?
After finishing school, I was considering becoming a plumber. As majority of my friends went from school into a trade or work, I thought I would go in to the plumbing profession. I liked the idea of this line of work because in school I had been intrigued by engineering, so I thought once I learnt this trade there will always be demand for that job. After all everybody needs a plumber.
At the time I was on a very traditional trajectory of life, where I thought you have to go school, get your grades and then go to work. But when athletics came into my life and it completely changed my outlook. I also knew I would not be following my dream; although there is nothing wrong with going straight into a career after school. It just did not sit well with me.
As I sat through my plumbing induction, I realised then that it was not for me and that I really wanted to pursuit my career in athletics. This is when I looked into university courses and ended up going to Bath university. I did a sports performance course which allowed me not only train but learn about all aspects of sports, from management to nutrition to physical health. The environment was very competitive, and I could not enjoy student life as much I would have liked to, but that said, I definitely do not regret my decisions.
During my time at university I also raced in the London Olympic stadium in 2012, which held the British University Games as a test run leading up to the Olympics. We were fortunate enough to be the first people allowed to run on the track, I won both of my qualifiers and achieved what was a personal best time, winning a bronze medal.
My fastest race to date came in 2017. After the retirement of one of my coaches halfway through my winter training I joined one of Baths high performance groups coached by James Hillier. As the training was different to what my body was used to, I unfortunately tore my calf muscle during a cold day practicing over the hurdles. After a few months of rehab and the opportunity to train just outside of Barcelona for a month, I found I was once again finding my stride. However, the turbulence which I had experienced earlier in the year was not over. A couple of days after arriving back from Barcelona I had a call from my coach to say that I would no longer be able to train with the high performance group, as I had not represented my country and to top things off, I was coming out of a 4 year relationship with my ex-girlfriend. With all this coming at me at once I found myself having train on an empty track in the dark with only the wind and rain as my training partners at 6am in the morning. Although everything around me seemed to be crumbling, the goal still had not changed. After a mediocre season I was entered into the England Championships. I automatically made it through to the final after a season’s best performance, which was surprising as my preparation had not been the best.
The day of the final I was calm and collected. In the call up room I was reminiscing on the struggles I had been through that year; I knew it was time to step up and make the hard times worth it. After an incredibly competitive race I crossed the line gaining a silver medal and a new personal best of 51.21. To say I felt emotional was an understatement. A week later I got a call up to represent England, which is one of the proudest moments of my life. It was a great way to end the season and a true testament that hard work pays off, no matter what your situation is.
Athletics has taken me around the world. I have had the chance to race in Florida (USA), Italy, Spain, and Turkey as well as many other places around Europe. Throughout my career I have known I am young and if I take a risk and it does not pay off, I have not got any major things to lose. I would hate seeing myself at 90 years old and thinking ‘oh… I wish I tried’. I know now that I can live with no regrets because I followed my passion.