My Run­ning Life


Runner's World (UK) - - IN THIS ISSUE -

An­drew Matthews, bob­sleigh brake­man

That’s where my tal­ent for run­ning re­ally took off. I was quicker than ev­ery­one else, beat­ing other foot­ballers to the ball and win­ning the school races. I re­ally didn’t take run­ning se­ri­ously un­til I was in my late teens, when I joined a run­ning club at Wind­sor. A coach there gave me the con­fi­dence to com­pete and I made the Team GB squad a cou­ple of times. He took over my coach­ing. What an in­spi­ra­tional guy. He had a calm­ing in­flu­ence on me. He taught me masses, in­clud­ing pa­tience. I had some great suc­cesses as a sprinter. I was na­tional and Eu­ro­pean 60m cham­pion but when I went to the tri­als for Lon­don, I was car­ry­ing an in­jury. I hurt my groin and had to pull out. I was dev­as­tated. I’d been run­ning for 14 years and thought it was all over and time to look for a new ca­reer. if I fan­cied try­ing out for win­ter-sports bob­sleigh, us­ing my sprint skills to push a train­ing trol­ley at a track in Bath. I was hes­i­tant at first.

When I be­gan bob­sleigh rac­ing, the be­hind-the-scenes work put me off. It wasn’t like ath­let­ics, where you just turn up and run. We do all the hump­ing and dump­ing. We’re con­stantly pol­ish­ing and main­tain­ing the sleigh, re­hears­ing our start tech­nique, train­ing and then trav­el­ling be­tween events.

You’re thrown around, turn­ing over and over. You go into sur­vival mode, pre­par­ing the body for im­pact, try­ing to keep your­self mov­ing to stop get­ting ice burns. That said, I had more in­juries as a sprinter.

I was coach­ing with a guy from GB Ac­tive. He asked me to come along and run some fit­ness boot camps, which I do with other Team GB ath­letes. I in­cor­po­rate a lot of ply­o­met­ric and re­sis­tance work into fun fit­ness ses­sions.

BIG CHANGE An­drew was brake­man in Team GB’S four-man bob­sleigh crew at this year’s Win­ter Olympics

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