Get On Track

Having sat out the Indoor season last year, still nursing a knee ligament rupture from a hospital bed, the chance to ‘get on track’ this year is all I humbly asked for from Saint Nicholas – i might add, having been a good boy all year! However these past two months, Fate – smug as ever, with its predetermining powers – harboured very different plans.

The most consistent period of Winter Training I’ve ever managed, 10 consecutive weeks without so much as a hiccup, threatened to suggest a promising Indoor showing lay ahead. But clearly that would have made for a story far too boring: boy trains hard –> boy races –> boy wins –> boy earns shiny medals. The End… “Yawwwn”!

Fate agreed… I hate Fate.

Instead, as if to thicken the plot, Fate would have it just as preparations for the first Indoor competition of the new year were concluding, lightening – spitefully perfect in it’s timing – struck.


The first of these fateful events is one of few ‘You’ve Been Framed’ moments I’ve starred in to be caught on camera; and so without further ado, the premiere of ‘How Not To Snatch’, enjoy:

*Cue* half-pint of blood gushing from face, and concussive symptoms for the next 3 days – ‘Bro-science’ details this was inevitable comeuppance for wearing ‘girly gloves’ in the weight room. —Be warned!

Painful? YES. Bloody painful. But not overly disastrous you’re thinking – after all facial features have very little to do with hurdling mechanics, a point proven if you’ve ever seen some of the Russians I have to compete against. Fate you see was saving itself for an encore just a few days later, a proverbially ‘twist in the tale’ to this less boring storyline.

Said encore was to be less ‘You’ve been Framed’ and more “Are… you… *!$%¿… kidding me”. Having burnt the cursed gloves and learnt how to avoid self-inflicting another ‘Captain Falcon Uppercut’, I made my way through the Friday afternoon gym ‘graveyard-shift’. Completely unaware of the snake in the grass: an inch and a half long rubber lip, stealthily protruding out from the top of a plyometric box we perform explosive jumps on to… Need I go on?

In a nutshell, a trip hazard, which when triggered makes light work of crushing ones hip cartilage and enforcing an instant 8-week lay-off… rah rah rah, REHAB, rah rah rah!

(Fast-forward two enthralling months of treading water) And so, having successfully ticked off number 57 of the ‘101 injuries in elite sport’, focus now turns to the month of May. Where the start of the Outdoor Season presents the next opportunity to finally… Get On Track!

Meanwhile, a welcome distraction from this longer than expected countdown to competition has been the start of a new youth project, of the same namesake, I’ve been supporting as an Athlete Mentor. ‘Get On Track’ is the flagship programme delivered by Dame Kelly Holmes’ Legacy Trust, aimed at helping disengaged and vulnerable young people to find a way back into employment, education or training.

Working with others who haven’t had the opportunities and support systems we sometimes take for granted is a humbling experience. It puts into perspective how much of a head-start so many of us don’t even realise we’ve had. To be able to draw upon my experiences in sport, of dealing with setbacks and persisting to work towards goals, to help young people who’ve slipped off the beaten track is hugely rewarding.

It’s a fantastic programme, which has now persuaded the backing of the government (Sport England) in a massive way. Having witnessed changes already, in the mindsets and soft skills of my mentees, over the first few weeks of the delivery; it really is a privilege to be a part of a project that will no doubt have a profound impact on their futures. 



About JA

professional athlete
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