As the season progresses, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to pick just two athletes out of our very talented squads. The days are getting shorter, the evenings colder and darker and the rain has been coming down like no tomorrow - but even this has not deterred our athletes, hungry for success on the track, on the roads or across the fields. This month, the accolade 'athlete of the month' goes to two very deserving athletes, Beth Wells and Linden Saunders. I was lucky enough to catch up with them both about their training and just why the love athletics so much. Massive congratulations to you both and keep up the hard work!
Tell us a bit about yourself – what do you study? What year are you in and what are your hobbies?
I'm a first year student, studying Psychology with Sport & Exercise science. Originally born in England, my parents and I moved to Switzerland when I was seven and have lived there ever since. One of my hobbies therefore includes a bit of skiing (on a sunny day) and I was a ballet dancer for twelve years. Since being in uni, I've also enjoyed a bit of surfing, but my main (favorite) hobby is track and field
Have you always done athletics? What inspired you to take it up?
I gave ballet up three years ago to take up athletics. In school, I was always one of the first to cross the finish line in races and realised that it was something I was quite good at. I then started running more and more often by myself, but it took me a while to actually join an athletics club. After going to a few taster sessions at a local club with a friend from school, I finally got a feel for what I liked and felt most confident in doing. I then focused mainly on sprinting and now compete in the 60m, 100m and 200m.
What is your proudest athletics achievement?
I progressed rapidly; after eight months of training, I was able to participate in the elite swiss national championships. One of my proudest achievements in athletics was winning gold in a competition against other local clubs, as it was my first time winning a gold medal and it was also my best time over 100m.
How do you prefer to train?
Training at it's best is when you have running mates alongside you, because it makes it a lot more fun, enjoyable and motivating. For me, friendship is a massive part of athletics. On a more serious note, I like to feel challenged by sessions that require some mental as well as physical effort.
Any recent success in races? What are your goals for the year?
Unfortunately, over the past year, an injury stopped me in my tracks and coming to terms with this was difficult. Although, after a slow recovery and trying to maintain as much as I could, I want to give myself another chance, starting off with the opportunity to compete in BUCS in January 2017. The support and encouragement from everyone in EUAC has definitely given me enough confidence and motivation in doing so!
Tell me a bit about yourself:
I am in my third year and am studying economics and finance.
Have you always run? What made you take it up?
I have always enjoyed running especially longer distances but never took it very seriously during school, just doing the odd cross country and 1500m at sports day. When I came to uni I wanted to set myself a challenge for my first year so signed up to the Brighton Marathon. My dad had always told me that sub 3 hours 30 was a decent time so I set that as my target. I found the training and the race very tough but completed it in 3 hours 27.
What’s your favourite way to train?
I joined athletics last year and really enjoyed training with everyone on track as it really helps to keep you going and push yourself further, definitely my preferred type of training.
Where is your favourite place to run in Exeter?
I enjoy running by the quay mainly because of how flat it is but tend to end up training in the hills around Heavietree because of where I live.
Have you got any personal targets?
My aim for this year is to try and run a sub 80 minute half marathon in Easter which is going to be very challenging and also to improve where I finish in the cross countries. Thank you all very much for nominating me I really appreciate it!