Originally from Scunthorpe, I moved to Leeds in 2006 whilst studying Sports Coaching at Leeds Beckett University (then Leeds Met).
Since graduating I have been working as a Primary School PE Coach at Wibsey Primary School in Bradford. Engaging children into sport is a huge passion of mine, something which is shared by the school. It’s quite unique to employ a dedicated Sports Coach to take all the PE lessons.
2018 was quite a big year as not only did I turn 30 but I also got married. 2019 has got a lot to live up to in comparison.
Mountain / Trail Running – My current distances range from 10k to marathon distance. Mountain running is a lower profile sport in the UK than it is across Europe and North America but it is currently experiencing a mini boom, not only in terms participating numbers but the achievements of the British runners.
I started running when I was about 12. I remember asking my dad to take me down to our local track in Scunthorpe, in order to train for sports day. One of the club coaches saw me running and suggested to my dad that he bring me down to join the running club and train with them. I suppose from there I was hooked.
My dad saw an advert for a fell race, which was one of Dave Woodheads races in Haworth. Dave and Eileen have organised fell races in Yorkshire for over 30 years and there are countless international athletes who you will find in the history books of their races. Ali and Jonny Brownlee have long been a feature of their race. Dave and Eileen were awarded the British Empire Medal for their services to sport.
Anyway, whilst I can’t remember the actual race I do remember it being cold, wet, windy, at one point being knee deep in a bog and I hated every minute of it. That still didn’t stop me finding another race the week after.
Me and my dad would find a difference fell race almost every weekend and travel around from race to race. The fell running community, is without doubt the greatest running community I’ve been a part of. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere of every race make it feel like a family.
After graduating University in 2009 I started to take my running seriously and had my eyes set on a GB mountain running vest. In 2011 I achieved this dream. There was failure and a lot of learning over those 2 years but by putting my head down and working hard on weaknesses, it would eventually pay off.
After achieving my first GB vest for the 2011 European Championships, a 2nd shortly followed for the 2011 World Championships.
Between 2011 and 2015 I was a proud member of 10 GB teams, which included multiple team medals and individual medals. My proudest achievements would be my individual silver medal at the 2013 World Championships. It was my first medal and I developed a lot both physically and mentally following the race, which I had lead up until the final stages. Not to win the gold hurt for a few days afterwards but once I reflected on the achievement, it allowed me to be truly proud of it.
2019 has started in the manner no athlete wants to be in, injured. The physical and psychological trauma your body goes through whilst injured takes time to adapt do but hopefully once I get back running, I can start making some exciting plans.
I raced the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Race for the first time in 2018 and whilst it was the longest and toughest race I’d done at the time, the racer in me enjoyed every minute of it. I’d love to be able to get myself fit in time to race but at this stage it’s unknown. If not, it’s not the end of the world and a summer of racing on the mountains of Europe awaits.
Like any athlete, the nutrition I put into my body has to be first and foremost, right for me. Having spent a couple of years trying different products it was particularly the OTE gels and energy drinks which I felt most comfortable with. They’re more naturally tasting and much lighter on my stomach than previous products I’ve used, which is my number 1 priority. Being an honorary Leeds girl, it makes it that much better it’s a local company that has athletes at its core.
My go to meal after races is either Burger, Chips and a milkshake or a big pizza and garlic bread. Whilst I do consider my diet to be quite healthy, I don’t feel guilty at all about having ‘treats’ as by body needs the fuel and energy to keep up with the demands of training and racing.
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