Interview: Liz Yelling

When did you start running and did you have any particular reasons for starting?
I started running when I was 9 years old. I was inspired by my mum to start running. I remember going to watch her run in road races, she just ran to keep fit and I would often see her going out on training runs. I started to ask her if I could run with her, and when I kept asking I think she knew it was not a fad. She then took me to my local running club at Bedford and County AC where I was lucky enough to meet the most amazing coaches in Alex and Rosemary Stanton. They coached me for all of my running life and got me to 2 Olympics!

If you could run with and/or race anyone, anywhere who would it be and where? Over what distance and on which surface?
I would love to run with all of my old mates from Bedford and County AC and go on a Multi stage endurance run over the New Zealand terrain. Not fast and easy- time to enjoy each other’s company and the amazing scenery.

Running wise, who do you look up to and who has inspired you?
When I was very young I was massively inspired by Siad Aouita, for his ability to run fast over a range of distances. I was also inspired by Liz McColgan’s true grit and determination and her amazing achievements. Later I was inspired by my training partner and best mate at Bedford and County- Paula Radcliffe. She showed me how to be committed and how hard you had to work if you want to achieve in distance running.

What are your favorite training conditions and are they the same as your favorite racing conditions?
My granddad once said to me learn to love what everyone else hates. So I love extreme weather conditions and hard courses in training and racing. The hillier, the muddier, the wetter, the hotter – the better! The more people moaned the more excited I was to train or race.

What is your fondest memory of running and, conversely, your worst?
My fondest moment is coming into the MCG in Melbourne for the finish of the 2006 Commonwealth Games marathon to 80,000 people. The sound was amazing and winning the bronze medal was magical.

My worst moment was when I had over training syndrome in 2005. I was extremely over trained and fatigued for 3 months and questioned if I could ever race again. I was at a real low point in my running, but this experience actually made me learn more about my training methods and enabled me to have some of my best years of racing in 2007 and 2008.

Where do you see yourself in six years?
I never really plan too far in advance. I am a very much live for the moment kind of person. If you push me, I will say that I will continue to be happily married with 2 kids and looking to do more trail running as a challenge. I want to inspire kids locally and set up a mentoring program, and continue to pass on my knowledge to help all levels of runner achieve in their running.

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