Athletics – Heptathlon
Years in sport of any kind:
Football – 4 years
Athletics – 7 years
Sports participated in:
Athletics – school and club
Football – school and club
Netball – school
Hockey – school
Rounders – school
Years in current sport:
7 Years, Currently in my second year of an Under 20 athlete
Alice Hopkins is an exciting, up and coming British athlete, who at the age of 18 is showing great promise.
Alice trains as a heptathlete but her single event passion is the 100m hurdles, something that achieved her an invite to the 2016 British Championships/Rio trails, where she performed as one of only three 17 year olds to reach the time standard to go.
Alice is also part of the British Athletics AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) Programme which she recently completed with a Distinction.
In the summer of my last year at Primary school, I competed in my school sports day, it was the first time they had decided to hold individual mixed running races, sprint and long distance. I was entered into both races and won, by some margin. My head teacher spoke to my mum and asked if I ran for any club. My mum then spoke to a friend of hers whose daughter went to a running club and it was arranged for me to go along for a taster. After that first night I was hooked and joined Oxford City AC, as a junior athlete. I was soon selected to train with the senior athletes, where I met my coach, Pete, he introduced me to Hurdling, which I found came naturally to me. As being a Hurdler is a key element to becoming a Heptathlete, I began to train more intensely on the other disciplines, Long Jump, High Jump, Shot, Javelin, 200 Meters and the 800 Meters. I moved to my current club, Radley AC, based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire 3 years ago, as they were competing at a high level. Last season, I was approached by Windsor Slough and Eton AC, to higher claim for them, meaning I could compete in the British Women’s Athletics Premier League
Last year in the summer I ran the qualifying time to run the 100m Hurdles at the British Championships/2016 Olympic trials, I was in the same heat as Lucy Hatton who is the next big hurdler to come though. I have also completed for England at the Sainsbury’s games, I was selected to compete in the Long Jump and won sliver.
As part of my training I carry on with the exercises my physio gave me for my foot injury, this is key as it helps to stabilize my foot and let me carry on my training session pain free. I also make sure that after every track session or competition, when I get home I have an ice bath and roll my muscles. By doing this it repairs any small tears in the muscle fibres and reduces the soreness the next morning. Rolling my muscles help release any lactic acid or tension in my muscles.
My ultimate achievement is to become an Elite GB athlete, where I can train day in day out and compete for my county where I can bring home medals from competitions like Worlds, Euros or the Olympics.
I either set my own goals or set them with my coach, if I set them with my coach we evaluate my last season and look at what I can improve with the winter training coming up. I set my own goals in anything like training, nutrition or competition levels. For example I have set a goal which is to get the qualifying time for my hurdles, which British Athletics set for the World Youth Championships this year. This is a huge goal in which it is going to be very hard as there are many talented athlete around.
My biggest challenge is balancing my social life with school and athletics, I find it very hard as I train 5 days of 7 and if I have a competition that is 6 out of 7. Which means my day off is a rest day, so finding time to do homework and meet up with friends is very challenging. To manage this I plan my time wisely, by using frees to compete work and then that gives me time to meet up with friends.
My diet has changed over the past few months, I have started to have smoothies in the morning and take them to school, I never miss breakfast, and these smoothies hold a lot of nutritious fruits where I get my vitamins and minerals. I have also increased my protein levels by having something for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also drink water throughout the day and at training sessions. I do not take any supplements, as at the moment I can gain all I need from my diet.
There have been many athletes over the years who I have competed against and have disappeared for the athletic world, i believe they felt there were other commitments in the world rather than athletics. I’m the opposite, I believe putting the time and effort into training and competition will give you rewards like your first GB kit or competing in the Olympics and winning gold. I have the mental strength and support surrounding me to help me achieve the highest goals I have set.
Just recently have been films released from two big names in the sporting world. These are Usain Bolt and Mo Farah. The have both inspired me to keep at the sport and the results will come. Usain Bolt at a young age fell back on so many injuries and just wanted to be a party lad, but he had the right people around him to keep him in the sport. Also Mo Farah, similar, he had the talent at a young age but did not know if it was the right path for him or know where to start as an elite athlete. He made a huge step and moved to America to train with a specialist coach who had the top athletes. Jess Ennis-Hill’s book, Unbelievable, was an inspirational read for me.
I use websites called 100% me and Global DRO. They both give the correct advice on supplements and medication which could be on the banned list. 100% me also talks about what a drugs test is and what the procedure is. I have checked things like Lemsip cold and flu, you type this in with what sport you do, what country and press search. It then shows you a list of different types of Lemsip cold and flu and tell you if it is prohibited in competition or out.
I do not believe I have had a “major” breakthrough yet, however I think the approach by Winsor Slough and Eton, is a step in the right direction, also I have been invited to the British Athletics Indoor Team Trials, 60m Hurdles, for the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade, something I have had to decline due to not being competition fit.
I have been told two pieces of advice one is ‘nothing is over until you stop trying’ and ‘you have to be odd to be number 1’.
‘Never look back’ I live by looking forward and not on the past, you can never ever change what has happened in the past so there is no point dwelling on it. Deal with it and move on.
I always thrive off elite athletes who have created such an impact in the athletics world, people like Jessica Ennis-Hill, who had a baby and then a year later became a World champion in the Heptathlon. Also, Greg Rutherford who has got the 5 titles, being the Olympic, World, Euro, Commonwealth and British Champion.
I have stated above that I had been seeing a physio about my foot injury for a few months, this injury had caused me to stop training, also not being able to finish important competition. I went to see Gordon Bosworth who was the Chief Physiotherapist to United Kingdom Athletics/British Athletics at the London Olympic Games 2012. He is truly amazing and has got me back on track for hopefully a great 2017 season ahead.
I was invited on to a course from British Athletics, it is called the Advance Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE). By completing this course I gained the equivalent of 2 A levels, UCAS points and a sum of money. I had access to Physios, Nutritionists, psychologists and Mentors. I had one to one session with these practitioners and was able to set goals. This course lasted a year and was able to meet new friends along the way.