I’ve already written a brief history of my entrance into bobsleigh in my other transfer article. I was considering copying and pasting the first bit then going from there but there’s actually more detail to the story that I know you’re all itching to read about.
Image: I was blonder then. This is a real-time shot of me being very upset at the performance I'd just put in. 10.43 at the 2013 London Anniversary Games in the Olympic Stadium
So here it is.
After a short time in sprinting (talent-spotted in 2010, first season 2011, breakout season 2013, then injury, injury, injury), my eyes began to wander to different sports.
My introduction and short career in the world of track and field was, ironically and metaphorically, a bit like the bobsleigh run I would come to compete in years later.
It started comparatively slow, got faster, more violent, sometimes crashed and (ice) burned, and finished in a haze of confusion and dizziness.
There will be imagery and videos that most of my followers have seen over and over. Soz
Let me explain.
I was obsessed when I started training for sprinting.
I felt I’d 'slipped through the net’ and never had a clue about the genetic gifts I possessed. Certainly not beyond the fact that when I started lifting weights at 18 I got so strong so quickly that the locals decided I was on drugs. Sort of a compliment I suppose.
I was rapid when I was a small child but I’d given up sport through secondary (high) school in favour of music, only picking up football again as a 15/16 year old.
Once again the notion of running fast was just useful for playing football, it never occurred to me, and I was never guided, to seek help from an athletics club.
So, after being spotted as a 20 year old and improving my 100m time from 11.5s to 10.4s within a year, I thought, ‘I cannot waste this opportunity’.
I stopped drinking alcohol completely, I militantly avoided social gatherings of any kind if I thought it was going to impact on my sleep. I ate a tonne, watched just about every 100m race you can think of and basically trained as hard as I could.
In fact, I remember the exact day that my strength as a runner changed. I was running 120m repeats and I remember coming off the bend in that session and suddenly feeling ‘tall’.
I could feel strength and power with every ground contact on the ball of my foot, my hips were high, my knees were high and it felt like a totally different running style up to that point. After starting training in the October, this would have been around December 2010.
By January 2011 and my first-ever indoor competitions I had run 6.81s for the 60m and qualified for the UK Championships.
In less than a year I’d gone from being a non-runner, working in my local pub to running in a national championship on national television.
Fast-forward to the summer of 2011, I finished the season with a 100m personal best of 10.45s, an improvement of around 1 second from my first attempts.
From here I didn’t look back, I improved to running in the 6.6s region for the 60m for fun (a real regret of mine is that I never broke that barrier to 6.5 and beyond, I was more than capable) and, after a move to Linford Christie, began running the mid to low 10s in the 100m for the first time. Culminating with a best 100m performance of 10.24s in 2013.