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Eliza’s story – from amateur runner to Commonwealth medal winner

Posted by: Eliza Nicholson, Y12 - 30 September 2023 - Activities & Sports - Read time: 3 minutes

My progression from being an amateur young runner incapable of running for more than five minutes without stopping, to competing for my country at major international event was by no means simple or easy.

During the repetitive regime that lockdown provided me with, I wanted to put my copious amounts of free time to beneficial use. I told myself if I could go on a run every day during this period, I could increase my fitness levels and find a new hobby. Through determination and consistency, I did exactly that and began to run up to five kilometres without stopping. Fast forward six months, we were back in the traditional school environment and the dreaded sports day emerged and I shocked everyone by winning the 800m!

This caused me to join my local athletics club. After training hard, I began to work my way up the running hierarchy and gained my first county vest for London, where I was able to compete at more major competitions. To put it into perspective; I was placed 50th in the country in 2022 and was placed 8th within a year. This vast improvement provided me with the motivation to keep trying and not only prioritise my hard work, but also rest and recovery. Now, two years into my running career I have gained a spot in both the England cross country and track and field teams which is an absolute dream come true. Looking back how I managed to juggle my GCSE exams and my punishing training schedule was extremely tiring and challenging for a 16-year-old, particularly as few others were in my situation. Despite these challenges, my GCSE results were higher than I ever could have imagined!

During the summer, I travelled to Trinidad and Tobago with team England to compete at the commonwealth youth games where in which I ran the 3000m and won a bronze medal; ranking me 1st in Great Britain and 3rd on the entire commonwealth. For me, this was the moment that I truly recognised that I had made it and discovered that I want to pursue a professional career in running and compete in the Olympics. The life-long friends and memories that I made on this trip will stay with me forever and really made every single painful session or run worthwhile.