Since that time, I have had the fortune of representing both Northern Ireland and Ireland at several of the world’s global championships. I have felt the buzz of walking out into a packed stadium to perform in front of thousands of people. I have felt the nerves and excitement of waking up in the morning, knowing that later that day, I would be competing in an Olympic Games, the pinnacle of every athlete’s career. What the public do not see however, is the cruel side of athletics. The times when things go wrong. The championships that I have missed. The races that I have not competed in.
Injuries are a part of running. It is a very fortunate athlete who can go their whole career without sustaining an injury. I have had more than my fair share. Pick a body part and I have either broken a bone, torn a muscle or done much worse to it, at some point in my training.
“Now, with the help of GLL I can concentrate on that one thing that I really want to do…recover and improve. GLL recognise that is all any athlete wants and asks for. The athlete is at the very centre of their philosophy and that is why GLL is, and continues to be a success.”
Those not involved with athletics may say it is an individual sport. In my eyes, that can be no further from the truth. Every athlete that has experienced any degree of success has a team around them. It may only be a small close-knit group, or it may be large in number, but there is a team. And this is what GLL realises. When injuries have occurred, rehab is essential. Gymwork is essential. Crosstraining is essential. All these facilities require money and expertise. That is what GLL provides.
Over the past number of years, the support I have received from GLL has been invaluable. When I became a full-time runner, I moved from my hometown of Holywood, Northern Ireland to base myself in Teddington, London for training. With various races and camps scattered throughout cities in the UK, my geographical knowledge of the UK has grown dramatically. It means however, that when injury occurs, normally at the most inconvenient time, I may be stranded in a city where I have no medical contacts and no gym membership to call upon.
This is where GLL comes in. It truly is a fantastic set up. I have used their training gym membership facilities from London to Belfast, from York to Cardiff. There is no more need to search for a gym that allows ‘Pay as you Go’ membership and no more awkward moments of trying to blag my way in to membership only gyms ‘just this one time’.
Now, with the help of GLL, I can concentrate on the one thing that I really want to do…recover and improve. GLL recognise that that is all any athlete wants and asks for. The athlete is at the very centre of their philosophy and that is why GLL is and, I hope, continues to be, a success.