International athlete Steph hands out top tips to sixth-formers

131632a Athlete Stephanie Twell, UK Athletics Ambassador and 2008 World Junior 1,500m champion  (competed in Beijing) doing a talk with students at Scarborough 6th Form College.   Photo by Andrew Higgins  18/04/2013
131632a Athlete Stephanie Twell, UK Athletics Ambassador and 2008 World Junior 1,500m champion (competed in Beijing) doing a talk with students at Scarborough 6th Form College. Photo by Andrew Higgins 18/04/2013

Former World Junior 1500 metres champion Steph Twell gave some sound advice during her trip to Scarborough Sixth Form College to give a talk to the students.

Twell is working with McCain, the Principal Partner of UK Athletics, to promote healthy, active lifestyles, and it was in this role as a UK Athletics Ambassador that she attended the college.

The runner said: “My first bit of advice would for any local athletes is to always work hard. You can’t be half-hearted in what you do if you want to be successful.

“I’d also say, create your own belief and knowledge in terms of where you want to go. Be part of the overall plan with your coach so that you both know where you are heading.

“Gain as much competitive opportunities as possible, low-key competitions to experiment with race tactics/throw/jump technique and bigger events to push yourself harder than before. And of course don’t forget to enjoy it and love it and want it with all of your heart.”

She also commented about the increased interest in running over the past year or so.

“I have noticed the increased running boom.

“In today’s age when everyone is constantly working so hard, it is important to feel like you have some time to look after yourself.

“The beauty with running is that you can do it anywhere and it is completely free. No gym memberships, equipment hire etc just a sturdy pair of trainers .... I really feel that the Olympics last summer also had an impact on the sport.

“At my own club we suddenly had a huge waiting list for people wanting to try out athletics.

“I would also put the interest down at younger ages to the fabulous support from McCain as well.

“They have pushed and encouraged loads of people in major cities to have a go at athletics through their McCain roadshows.

“They, like I, value the grass root element of sport and appreciate that a champion isn’t just born over night.

“I’m inclined to agree that the more participation we have the more possible it is to identify and enhance talent.”

When quizzed about the lack of a running track or other facilities in this area, she had some strong opinions.

“I don’t think it can really hamper athletes because if there are good athletes already clearly something must be working. But progress will always want to be made.

“When I have trained out in Kenya all they have is a dirt track to run around but they still run ridiculously fast. I do think however for more technical events, ie like a throwing or jumping event you may benefit from better facilities.”

She concluded: “I have personally been incredibly fortunate and blessed with training facilities in my own local area.

“However, in terms of socially and widespread facilities; I know that some are lacking in either availability at all or areas often struggle with the maintenance and upkeep of facilities.”

Stephanie Twell is working with McCain, the Principal Partner of UK Athletics, to promote healthy, active lifestyles.