Not on the roads.
In high school I loved sports days. I competed for my school at Borough Track and Field Championships and Under 15 Essex County Championships. My chosen event was the 800m; I achieved a personal best of 2:36.
I also competed in multiple Borough Cross Country Championships.
I left high school with full honours for cross country and half honours for athletics. Although I was one of the best runners in my year my achievements reflected my preference for longer distances away from the track.
I didn’t know as a teenager that running would become a lifelong passion. But my natural enthusiasm to race locally sowed the seed.
After a two-year break to focus on my studies I began running again when I enrolled at university. Most of the miles were run on the campus gym treadmills.
It was on New Year’s Day 2010 that I ran for the first time outside, alone.
For the next year and a half I continually challenged myself on pavements, trails and treadmills, improving my fitness with relatively unstructured training. My only running race was a university cross country meet.
Around this time I became a vegetarian and teetotal, lifestyle choices I believe made me a stronger athlete.