How long have you been in the sport for?
Fortunately, I have always been into sport… I could ski before I could run! I trained in gymnastics for 15 years, I’ve been part of Poole Athletic Club and running in races since I was 8 years old and I was a competitive cheerleader for 5 years. I’ve raced and played hockey abroad, and in my spare time I’ve learnt to water ski, wakeboard, windsurf, rock climb, slackline and kayak. Currently my focus is on trail-running and obstacle course racing, which is a great combination of my previous experiences.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Progressing in my job as a Lecturer whilst still being able to maintain an adventure-filled life, so probably competing in a new sport!
Who inspires you?
A very tricky question when there are so many people doing incredible things these days. I think at the moment I really admire the attitude of Faye Stenning – an Obstacle Course Racing Champion from Canada who is a confident and fearless racer.
What has been your biggest achievement and biggest fail to date?
Perhaps overshadowing my assorted sporting achievements is gaining my PhD, where I researched the effects of extreme environments, like heat and altitude, on exercise performance and how the body adapts to these.
I tend to forget failures (after learning my lesson of course) and keep a positive outlook, but of course there have been many. OCR can be an unforgiving sport with the weather and the challenging nature of the obstacles – the European Championships in 2018 was particularly difficult race for me with many difficult obstacles back to back making even completion of the race challenging
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into your sport?
Search for some events, on the internet, on social media and just have a go. I have been to so many events on my own, including my first OCR. I didn’t know anyone there or how it all worked, but just got myself there and went with the flow and had a great time. Many events are about the whole experience, it isn’t essential that you’ve done loads of training so don’t be afraid to have a go without preparing too much before! If you do think you need some practice beforehand, look for local sports clubs, these don’t have to be competitive, often you can have a go at little to no cost then you will meet people who can help you out. It’s one of the reasons I love running so much – all you need is a pair of shoes. What really keeps me going though, is the people I meet and the places sport takes me to – the UK is so beautiful! Get in touch with me if you want to jog, walk or run in some beautiful places!
What are your favourite and worst parts of the sport?
OCR can be a bit of a rollercoaster with every race being so different because of the different types of obstacles. For example, I am not very good at the ‘heavy carry obstacles’, but I enjoy the more technical hanging obstacles and running. The weather certainly changes a race too; often cold water (and even ice sometimes) can make it particularly difficult.