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Perri Shakes-Drayton:

Drayton's Manor

Perri Shakes-Drayton Posted 15th September 2011 view comments

I started athletics at primary school, I used to run and I really got into cross country and mini marathons, but as I got older I got told by a teacher to go to my local track, at Mile End, where I still train and I'm still a member of today.

It was a case that I was good at it and I enjoyed it, I was never the best, I never won all of my races but I just enjoyed running.

It's only recently, I must say, that I even started to believe I could go to an Olympics or World Championships.

Perri Shakes-Drayton

Perri Shakes-Drayton

At the age of 17 I ran 300m hurdles and I got a British record there and I realised, ok, I'm actually good at this, so I stepped up to the 400m hurdles and thought if I can cope with this then there could be something in this.

But it wasn't until 18 or 19 that I realised I could do this for a living and there was this thing called the 'Olympic Games' because I didn't follow athletics, I didn't know any athletes, the only Olympic Games I remember was when Kelly Holmes won, that's it, I didn't know anything else.

Break

But now I'm really excited about hopefully running in the Olympics, I'm back into training at the end of this month. At the moment I've been taking a break, eating want I want and not even feeling bad that I'm eating it! Then I'm going on holiday next week with my friend, I'm looking forward to that, then when I come back I'm straight into training.

My training changes, we'll train about five times a week and now in winter time it'll be more like long runs, gym work, weight sessions - which is all my least favourite part of the season, the winter bit. Then when we get on into the season when I'm competing it's more speed, more getting over the hurdles.

This year I'm going to do some warm weather training which I've never had the chance to do before due to university, so I'm hopefully going to South Africa in the winter time so instead of me going to Mile End track and cleaning the winter snow, getting brooms out and sweeping snow away I've got the opportunity to go out there and do some quality training.

Hopefully that will take me to the next level because I'm not missing out on training and getting quality sessions in and practising hurdles from earlier on.

My coach will have my entire Olympic training schedule written down already, but I don't know in advance, I never know what I'm going to be doing in training so I always go there expecting the worst, not in a bad way, but just keeps me guessing. It's all I've ever known so it works for me.

Fame

I was at the opening of the Westfield shopping centre the other day - shopping is one of my favourite hobbies outside of training! It really got me looking forward to next year, it's exciting times I would say.

When the Olympics starts athletes are going to be walking around like normal but everyone's going to know who they are and will be just staring at them and it'll be like 'wow'! I'm just going to embrace it really though, it's putting on a show, that's exactly what it is.

I'm not taking the pressure on board, it's not like the UK Championships, this is the Olympics and the best in the world will be there, everyone knows I've improved over the year and I'll just be doing my best and hope that my best is good enough.

It'll be emotional running at the Olympic stadium, it's exciting and it'll mean a lot to me - especially as I'm a local girl and my family and I grew up just around the corner and now there's this huge competition there that I'm hopefully going to be a part of it.

I did a lot of sports as a kid, I did taekwondo, karate, football, basketball, even had a go on the trampoline.

Although I didn't really have any sporting idols as a kid, I hope I can go on to be one seen as a role model, especially for the local children from my area, like I said I still train at my local track, so I can say to kids I'm just like you and if you're dedicated and work hard you can get up to the Olympics.

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