Supporters' Blog

Our roving reporter interviewed pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw in the run up to the British Championships. The full interview will appear in a forthcoming Backtrack, but here are some of the highlights...

BASC: How did you get into athletics?

Holly Bradshaw: My club (Blackburn Harriers) put on 6 weeks of taster sessions for anyone at the club to have a try. I always got stuck into anything and everything so thought why not give it a try and right from the word go… I LOVED IT! After the 6 week taster course the coach leading it invited me to train with him in Manchester and the rest is history.

How did you make the decision that pole vault was "your event”?

HB: After the first 6 months of doing it I knew this was the sport for me. I took to it so well and within the first 6 months I had jumped 4m (a pretty big landmark for a female vaulter) and qualified to represent GB in the European Juniors. I just loved everything about the pole vault and that’s why I improved so quickly in it.

Most athletic fans will have heard of Gotzis, the famous multi-events competition, but Gotzis is part of a series of events – another of which takes place in Talence, a suburb of Bordeaux. So we thought we would venture for a weekend in Bordeaux – and see what Talence is all about.  There were 13 women and 12 men taking part, unfortunately no Britons, but plenty of talent on show, including Nafi Thiam from Belgium, and Kevin Mayer, the world record holder (set at this event last year).

It was a lovely event – the sun shone which always helps. For those who have been to Gotzis it is very similar – you can wander wherever you like, following the athletes around the track to cheer them on in whichever event they are taking part in. For the men’s pole vault, they even set up the jump right next to the stand, so that the maximum fans could watch, as well as also letting fans sit on the track right next to where the athletes were running up and landing!

BASC caught up with team captain  Guy Learmonth - before he knew he was team captain - ahead of Glasgow 2019. Our intrepid interviewer asked him loads of questions. Here are just 10 of them - to read more, catch the next issue of Backtrack.

How did you get into athletics?

Growing up in the Scottish Borders, like every other kid, I was born with a rugby ball in my hand so that was my first love. I only ever ran in the summer to keep fit for the rugby as it was off season. But I remember racing the Scottish U20 Indoor champs in 2009, 400m and I won easily. The day before I played one of my Scotland U17 trial matches in the freezing snow. So, it was then that I realised I could be quite good at athletics. A few months later, I was 17 and I was under pressure to decide by the SRU between the rugby or the athletics, so I opted for the latter, everyone thought I was crazy at the time, but it’s paid off now.

Who were your athletics heroes when you first got into the sport?

Steve Prefontaine. I first watched his biopic “Without Limits” when I was a kid and fell in love with him. I became a bit obsessed, read everything about him, including the two books written about him. He was a hero, a visionary, way ahead of his time but taken from us all far too soon.

Beth Dobbin (Photo: James Rhodes)BASC recently caught up with Beth Dobbin, who is making her presence felt on the track this season. In our interview she spills the beans about her Scottish record over 200m, how she competes while dealing with epilepsy, and what she hopes to achieve this season...

BASC: How did you get started in athletics?

Beth Dobbin: I began going on runs with my dad when I was about 10, we'd run for quite a distance. I started entering fun runs and cross country runs and always did quite well. Then when I moved to secondary school my P.E. teacher noticed that I was quite quick as well. I was beating the boys over the sprints in P.E., so I asked my dad to take me down to the local athletics track and he did.

BASC: Who were your athletics heroes as a child?

BD: I always remember looking up to Alyson Felix as she was so graceful on the track and just ran so effortlessly. I also really admire Jessica Ennis-Hill as I was amazed by how well she coped with the pressure of London 2012 being the poster girl and everyone was hanging the gold medal around her neck before the championships even began.

What a great Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast! Here's one member's experience at his first Commonwealths...

Having just returned with my wife from our first Commonwealth Games I am pleased to report a very enjoyable and successful trip, both in terms of England's achievements on the Gold Coast, as well as our holiday too.

Our flights and accommodation were excellent, transport was well organised to and from the stadium from various hotels BASC supporters were staying at, as well as the shuttle services, like London 2012, the buses used the hard shoulder for speediness.

We stayed just minutes from the beach and the tram stop and start of the shuttle services.

Highlight of the Games for me was the Gold won by Katarina Johnson-Thompson who led from day 1 as well as our success in the relays. What was also pleasing was to see a number of countries gaining medals for the very first time including The cook Islands, British Virgin Islands and Dominica.

One grumble was that when a track event took place at the same time as a field event, the result appeared on the scoreboard and promptly disappeared so quickly without time to take note. Also, stewards should not allow winning athletes to do their lap of honour when a track event is about to start - this nearly upset the start of one or two races but for stewards being a little slow to act.

After a wonderful Games we went on to New Zealand for a week - fabulous country, mountains and walks abound and lovely people !

All in all, a wonderful trip.

Blogger: Mike Morfey

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