EUAC has been graced with a fine bunch of athletes this year and we've already been been lucky enough to witness some very impressive performances both on the track at our very own varsity event and over the mud (well actually lack of mud!) down in Plymouth. Picking just one individual proved too difficult for the committee on this occasion and so two very deserving athletes have been rightly selected. Congratulations to Ben Holmes, not a newbie to the club but a consistently strong and determined athlete and also to Ida Tjorsvaag, who seems to be giving Nikita a run for her money for the 'queen of distance' title!
Tell us a bit about yourself – what do you study? What year are you in and what are your hobbies?
I'm in my second year of a PhD in History, but I did my undergrad here in Exeter as well so I've been here a while! Unfortunately, I didn't go to an Athletics club until last year. Prior to that, I did other sports like football and tennis, and I only did a bit of running just to keep fit when I wasn't doing those. I had also done a couple of cross country races at school, but they weren't particularly serious races.
Have you always run? What inspired you to take it up?
I probably started running properly about three years ago after a couple of friends from school completed the London Marathon, and I thought it would be cool to do a marathon while I was still a student. So I ran for a couple of years on my own, and did get to do two marathons. I started coming to Athletics club the last academic year when I wanted to improve my times and try some other events.
How do you prefer to train?
I do enjoy training on my own, and it's easier to fit around work and other things, but since starting athletics I've really enjoyed training with other people. There are so many great athletes at the club and I've found training with them has really improved my running. So massive thanks to them and for everyone who organises the club, particularly Gordon for all his advice and encouragement.
What is your proudest running achievement?
My proudest achievement was completing this year's London Marathon. I'd done it the year before, but I did it this year in a PB of 2 hours 40 mins, and I raised nearly £1,000 for Cardiac Risk in the Young, which was a big bonus. Next year I'm going to run in London again, hopefully slightly faster! I'm also hoping to do a few races in between, so I'm keeping an eye out for any 10k or half-marathons to do in the meantime.
Any recent success in races?
I was really happy to do the Great West Run a few weeks ago, even if I knackered my hip flexor and couldn't walk the day after, so I'm hoping to improve my times for half marathons. I'm hoping to be back training in time for the next cross country race. The last race in Plymouth was really great, and I think both the guys and girls teams are looking really strong this year. As long as everyone stays fit then we should have some really great results, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how everyone does this year.
Have you always loved running?
I have always enjoyed running, but the last 5 years I have been more passionate about it.
What’s your favourite way to train?
I love a long Sunday run, especially combined with trail running. I also love the feeling after a hard interval-session .
Where’s your favourite place to run in Exeter?
My favourite place to run in Exeter must be around Mincinglake Valley Park, but also enjoy running along the riverside.
Have you got any personal targets for the year?
Personal goal: half marathon sub 1.25, and trying to qualify for 5000m at Norwegian National Championship