Not on the roads.
In high school I represented my house on 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 Borough Cross Country Championships. Although I enjoyed competing and placed well at most meets, my performances never challenged top local runners.
By the end of high school in 2007 I was awarded the full honours for cross country and the half honours for athletics. This reflects my preference for longer distances away from the track, and that I was one of the best runners in my class at school.
I did not know as a teenager that running would become a lifelong passion. But my enthusiastic and proud participation in local races sowed the seed.
I began running again in October 2009 when I enrolled at university. However, this was predominantly on the campus gym treadmills. It was on New Year’s Day 2010 that my life was forever transformed by running. I ran for the first time consciously outside and alone, and for no other reason than to take full responsibility for my own physical activity.
For the next year and a half I challenged myself by running on pavements, trails and treadmills as I divided my time between my home town and university accommodation. My only running race was a university cross country meet. I also attribute my improved fitness to my choice to become a vegetarian and teetotal on my twentieth birthday in early September 2010.
As I embarked on my racing career as an adult in June 2011 I had still yet to specialise in running. That would come a little later.