ZEN AND NOW... SPEEDY JODIE TURNS BACK THE CLOCK
HIKING amid the cactuses, lizards and red rock of Arizona, Jodie Williams has not a care in the world.
The days of stress and strain that led her to leave Britain are behind her. She is back running like her old self.
Williams (left) used to be unbeatable. She went 151 races without defeat, became world champion at youth and junior levels and was nicknamed ‘Moneylegs’. Then came eight years in which the pressure she put on herself and the expectations of the watching world all became too much.
Next Saturday the 25-year-old returns to England to compete in the London Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium. She does so with a smile on her face and a new personal best in her pocket. In May, finally, she ran a 100 metres faster than she had when she was 17.
“I had many years of struggles, it felt like multiple rock bottoms,” Williams admitted, as she prepares to take on Katarina JohnsonThompson and Olympic champion Elaine Thompson over 200m. “So when I ran my first PB for eight years (11.17secs) I was really proud of myself. There was also a sense of relief.”
A year ago she spoke movingly about her fall from the heights she hit as a junior, how the mental battle came close to breaking her. Twelve months on she seems a different person.
“I’m a big believer in having a calm mind. As my coach Stu McMillan says: ‘A calm Jodie is a fast Jodie’.”