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David from our transformation team answers questions about working at The Children's Society and his athletic goals.
What do you do here at The Children’s Society?
I’m part of the transformation team. My role is really to understand what we do, how and where we do it, and to help design how we want to operate in future.
We’re focused on planning the organisation’s future - I’ve been at The Children’s Society for almost nine months, and it has been really interesting looking at the range of work we do to help young people and families, and figuring out how we can most effectively expand that work.
I hear that you’re also training for a major event. What’s your goal?
Ultimately, my ambition is to make it to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. I compete in two sprints, the 100m and the 200m, and would love to have the opportunity to represent my country against the best athletes on the planet.
In the shorter term, my aim is to keep winning races and improving my personal best, and hopefully next year win the county championships . I’ve been increasing the intensity of my training over the last eight months, and am starting to see my times come down quite rapidly now, which is a big boost.
How do you train to become part of the British Olympic team? Are you competing against other English runners?
The training is pretty intense. I train twice a day, six days a week, incorporating sessions on the track in the gym, and yoga. It’s important to maintain a balance between explosive power, flexibility and speed, and I feel as if I’m starting to understand what’s required of me more and more.
So far I’ve competed against athletes from England, Jamaica, Nigeria, Ghana – really, runners from all over the place! I think that living and training in London is a big part of this, as the population is so diverse, but it’s always a challenge I relish, and I hope that I’ll get to continue to cut my teeth against great athletes from many more nations over the next few years.
How are you progressing?
I'm pleased. In a recent race at Parliament Hill, I managed to finish first in a new personal best for a 100m race, which, considering that the weather was awful (driving rain, wind, freezing cold), felt like a decent achievement.
I travelled to Woodford in Essex to compete in a 200m race in April. The conditions were absolutely perfect and I felt like I'd prepared reasonably well for the event. I won the race in another personal best, but wasn't satisfied with my overall performance. I got out the blocks so well at the start that I'd almost passed the guy on the outside of me within five strides – I started to pull up, thinking I'd false-started. It took another few strides to realise that I hadn't, and I had to accelerate all over again. It gave me confidence, however, that if I can hold people off on the bend, I've got more than enough power to blow them away in the straight.
This series of photographs features David racing in April. In each photo, he is in the lead.
What’s it like to win a race?
The adrenaline rush is unlike anything I can really describe – you experience a potent mixture of exhaustion and elation, the cocktail of which makes you feel on top of the world! I’m really keen to keep my times coming down, but there is something about winning a race that just breeds enthusiasm and a passion to do it all over again. Ultimately, it’s my fuel for training, being able to draw upon those experiences to drive myself forward.
Why do you want to do this?
Athletics has always been something I’ve enjoyed, and I used to compete at a high standard when I was younger. It had been in the back of my mind for a few years that I wanted to get back into it, and ultimately it was the Olympics here last summer provided me with the inspiration to lace up my old spikes and get back on the track. Whatever sport I’ve played, I’ve frequently relied on my pace, and it seems to make perfect sense to make the best use of that that I can.
So my first goal is to get to the top of the pile in British sprinting that’s the aim, and that in itself will be no easy feat, as there are a multitude of talented, experienced guys out there who are ahead of me... for now.
To follow David's progress, visit his blog, One way ticket to Rio 2016
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Subjects: Olympics and Paralympics