Go Gold Focus – Lucy Hall
Posted: Mon, 08 Oct 2012 12:41
After her surprise selection for the Team GB triathlon squad for the Olympics, 20-year-old Lucy Hall more than justified her place on the team with a stunning performance in the water, as the British trio of Hall, Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins attempted to tailor the race to suit the strengths of Jenkins to help her achieve a medal.
Although the team didn't ultimately reach their objective, as Jenkins finished fifth, London 2012 provided an invaluable experience for Lucy, who tested her talents in one of sport's most gruelling events, at the very highest level, and looked right at home.
Originally from Lutterworth but now based at Loughborough, Lucy spoke to Soar Magazine about her experiences this summer, starting with the build up to the Games.
"I never experienced anything like it before; the kitting-out process and the training camp beforehand, where I got to train with Helen Jenkins, who is one of the best triathletes in the world. To see what she does in training and where I need to be in a few years time is quite daunting, but it's comforting to know that it can be done with a lot of hard work."
Lucy's recollection of the event itself includes memories of a partisan British crowd and attempting to help Jenkins reach a medal position.
"It was incredible. I probably won't experience that amount of support again from a British crowd. When we were running, I couldn't hear anything, I was actually getting a headache, but in a good way! The support helped rather than having a negative effect and all three of us in the team found it a buzz.
"It's cool to be able to perform in front of a crowd like that and do what I need to. Leading out of the swim was crazy because I thought Helen was there. I looked for her name and couldn't see it, but we had a plan B, so I had to sit in and wait on the bike. The 10k for me was epic. It was so painful and made me realise why I need to run everyday."
Hall also enjoyed the Olympic Village and meeting some of the country's most famous athletes.
"It was awesome. You do get a little bit star struck because you've look up to these guys, like Jess Ennis and Dai Greene, for so long. You couldn't help but people watch at the food court because there were so many different shapes and sizes. You get really tall guys walking around with ten Big Macs because they've finished their events."
Hall, who also studies Sports Science and Management at Loughborough College, revealed how she first got into the sport.
"I've been doing triathlon since I was eight-years-old and my dad got me into it because he did a half Iron Man. Swimming has always been my strongest discipline and I used to do a lot of football, cricket and ballet. My parents wanted me and my brother to have a variety of sports to choose from and I suppose you just go into one naturally, but somehow I ended up in three! I'm not sure if they were happy about it because financially it's quite tough."
Lucy and her family have been helped financially by Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport's Go Gold Talented Athlete Scheme, as she explained.
"You need a lot of equipment; bikes, trainers and it all adds up. I have to race abroad to get points as well, and for the Olympics I had to get to Peru and Ecuador, which obviously isn't cheap. Go Gold have helped with that, accommodation and petrol. To have that support and know that you're county is supporting you to do something you love is fantastic. I really appreciate it and it's hard to explain just how much Go Gold has done for me in the past few years."
As well as the financial demands, triathlon puts unrelenting pressure on body and mind, which is evident when Lucy describes her training regime.
"I train three times a day, normally swim, bike, run and sometimes with strength and conditioning work as well. You do have to be mentally tough, but in any elite sport you have to be motivated. We'll be on the bike for three hours before swimming for 90 minutes and then running for 75 minutes. Sometimes I'm knackered and think that I don't want to do it, but then you look at the bigger picture and remember that you're doing it for a reason."
That reason is to succeed when it matters at major competitions, such as the Olympics, but can Lucy use the experiences of London to help her succeed in Rio?
"I wasn't there for the experience, I was there to do a job, but hopefully that won't be my last time. I've learnt a lot and I know that I can do it under pressure. If I am at the 2016 Games in Rio, I might be a little more nervous as it could be my last chance, but I just want to get there. I'd really love to be a favourite and come away with a medal. That's definitely my goal."
With the determination, commitment and character that she clearly possesses, there's every chance that Lucy Hall will realise that goal.
The Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport's Go Gold Talented Athlete Fund is open for applications (1 September – 31 October 2012), for more information visit www.lrsport.org/gogold
Story and image courtesy of Soar Magazine