Tag Archives: 200m


It’s been on the cards for many months- I now live in Glasgow.

Having felt like I struck it lucky having London Heathside as my local club down South, I’ve been very apprehensive about finding a new club in Glasgow which I’ll love as much.

During a visit last November, not knowing exactly where I would end up living, I tried a session with Victoria Park City Of Glasgow, based in the West of the city. Since deciding to move to the Glasgow’s Southside, I’ve been in touch with a more local club- Giffnock North AAC.

Giffnock North’s website showed groups of adults in the team kit, so I felt confident that it would be a similar set-up to Heathside. The club train at several school tracks during the summer season, having just come out from indoor training at Emirates Stadium over the winter.

This Tuesday, I arrived at Hutcheson’s Grammar School to an empty track. I had a bit of a bounce on the new and pristine surface before the coaches began arriving. Head coach, the aptly named Billy Glasgow, introduced me to the others- who in turn, assumed that I was there to become a coach. As the squad turned up, I realised why- I was the only adult there to train.

All the same, I began warming up with a gossiping gaggle of girls, mainly under 15s. When we were ready to run, I was introduced to the oldest pair in the group- both under 17s. I was to run with them.

2 x 4 x 200m.
“Around 85%, so coming in at 30 or 31 seconds,” Christine called.

30 seconds is my race-pace.

I began running with the older girls, but they quickly eased away from me. They seemed to find it so easy, and recover so quickly, whilst I gasped for air. After the third rep, I realised all was not so smooth for the youngsters after all, as one of them left to throw up.

On my fourth and final 200, I ran the bend smoothly, but as soon as I was on the straight, it felt like it would never end. I closed my eyes, willing the time away, but when I reopened them it was as if I’d gone nowhere. Aeons later, I struggled over the line and lay on the infield, exhausted. Billy came over to check I was ok- I felt that I had to remind him that I was double the age of these girls.

I was glad to have declared myself a multi-eventer, and had already planned to go to work on throws after the first set of sprints. Phew. In a 10 minute break, I lay on the floor in the school corridor, wondering how I was going to summon the power of both brain and body to change from spikes to trainers, let alone coordinate by body parts to throw a javelin. As I dragged myself upright, the girl who had just vomited skipped off for her second set of 200s.

James, a former softball player turned throws-coach, welcomed me and offered a choice of throwing implements. I took a javelin- 500g, rather than the 600g weight for senior women. I threw it, and as ever, it landed tail first.

James patiently worked through some techniques with me, resulting in quite a few legal throws- something I’ve barely managed in competition. It was great just to have the time and space to throw things- something which I haven’t had much of a chance to do in London. Throwing is where I hope the least amount of time/ training will result in the biggest jump in points in the Tetradecathlon- I see skinny girls throwing twice as far, so I’m hopeful that with a coach (and all the weights I plan to do now I live round the corner from the gym), I can double my distances.

Thursday- I headed down to Williamwood School track for the second session with GNAAC. Having to haul myself out of bed from an afternoon nap (or more accurately, Arron did the hauling), I felt more sprightly by the time I arrived. The session was to be:

4 x 100m

4 x 4 x 100m relays

The shape of the session, I realised, was very cunning. There were 8 of us. Placing the relay runs last meant there was no option of bailing early. I went for a true sprint finish as I ran the anchor leg on the final relay, and felt the joyous whoosh of the air passing my ears as I ran through the line.

I can’t say that I’m not sad that there’s not a thriving community of adults doing track & field at the club, but the younger girls have pace and endurance which will push me; and having the opportunity to work on one of my weaker events is a real draw. So I’ll see how things go over the next few weeks and months. I’ll also be travelling back to London every month, competing with Heathside at the Southern Athletics League meets once again.

Glasgow- I have arrived.

First competition: Middlesex Indoors

The Middlesex Indoor Championships gave me an opportunity to get some PBs in a smattering of events. Having been given an entry form by my coach, Chris, the day before he left on a 3-week holiday, I chose a random assortment of categories, without giving much thought to how I was going to train these over the coming weeks.

My choices were 60m, 60m hurdles, 200m and long-jump.

60m & 200m I felt reasonably confident that I could at least get to the end of a race. However, 10 days before the competition I realised I had no idea how to use starting blocks. Professor Google showed me the way, before doing a quick practical session on our building-site track last Sunday.

I fully expected my first 4 long-jumps to be during the competition. However, last Wednesday was lucky enough to train with coach, Mark Lawrence, at Lee Valley Athletics Centre, where the Indoor Championships were to be held. He gave me a whistle-stop tour of how to long jump. Some of it was much like the indoor preps from back in January- taking off, lifting the knee and driving with the arms; but as soon as I began to take a run up, all of that went to pot. Stuttering runs, no drive, and often with a forward roll at the end of a meagre jump.


Having happily cleared the hurdles at their lower height during my first track session at Heathside (much to Chris’ surprise!), I had felt confident about moving onto the higher ones for the shorter sprint. But with Chris being away and Finsbury Park’s track being dug up, I approached the competition weekend not knowing if I could clear them over the 60m distance, having not been over a single hurdle this month.

During the last weeks, I began to have problems with my achilles tendon, which started from getting over-excited about catching up with someone during a sprint session- quite a rarity.

The first day of the competition, I arrived early- after panics about having no safety pins for my number, and noticing my spikes were blunt and several were missing. Nobody from Heathside was there, and I was thankful for having been there earlier in the week. There were some hurdles and starting blocks in the warm-up area, but with it so crowded with participants of all genders and age-groups, everybody needed to set them at differing heights and distances. Eventually I braved an empty lane and set 3 hurdles to (hopefully) the correct placements.

I went to the call area where I was surprised to be barked at; “673, CAN YOU SIT DOWN!” My four competitors sat beside me, discussing how they hadn’t competed this event for a while. I kept shtum. I had not done this event once, not even in training.

We were told to go to our starting blocks, where we could test them and go over two hurdles, once before the race. We were then asked to stand in front of our blocks. I misunderstood where ‘in front’ was, giving away my amateurism if my body shape had not already done so.

Marks. Set. BANG!

Before I could think about technique, it was over. The others were 2 seconds ahead of me, but I cleared all 5 hurdles. From the adrenaline, I perhaps clearer them by too much, wasting time; but I was delighted to reach the finish line in one piece, having not clattered the metal. 11.28 secs.

I had little time to rest before my next event- 200m.

For this, I had a better idea of what time to expect- at sprint training, I usually keep pace with Mary, who last week got a PB of 31.2 secs. The indoor track’s steep curves supposedly favour a shorter athlete- a phrase I’ve not heard much in my brief time in the sport. I was placed in lane 5, with nobody in the outside lane.

I felt great through the first bend, but as I approached the second at just over 100m, I began to tire and the other women eased ahead of me.  Noelle from Heathside was still within my sights as I finished in last place, in 30.7. Though there were 4 seconds between myself and the winner, I was pleased with my time.

On Saturday evening, my body quickly descended into a crumpled heap. My achilles ached and I could barely walk. As Arron accompanied me to the car on Sunday morning, he noted- “you’re limping! You can’t do that- they won’t let you race!”

Things didn’t feel too happy in my legs as I creaked through warm-up drills and strides. Down by the long-jump pit, things weren’t any better. I noted I was about to compete in long jump, yet could barely jump on the spot.

I grinned and bared it through the four jumps, again with any and all hastily learned technique going out the window. I felt sure that I could jump at least 4m. Not today.

2.56m. 2.73m. 3.29m. 3.03m.

I came third of the four competitors, but felt frustrated and in pain. I pulled out of the 60m sprint, which was due to start 30 mins later.

Instead, I watched from the sidelines with two of my favourite people as my teammate Claudia zoomed through to second place in that race, with her own PB. Her joy at her time was far beyond that of any winner I’d seen over the competition, and made a very sweet ending to a slightly painful weekend.


Huge thanks to my coaches, Chris & Mark; everyone at London Heathside; and my wonderful supporters, Arron & Emily.