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Feature: Interview with Student and Rio 2016 Hopeful Charlie Grice

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Feature: Interview with Student and Rio 2016 Hopeful Charlie Grice

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A year on from the Olympics, we catch up with Rio 2016 hopeful Charlie Grice, Sports Science student and EPACC athlete at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham. Recently winning Silver at the European U23 Championships and currently ranked number one in the UK for under 23s, Charlie is making a name for himself in GB athletics. He shares with us his experience of being a student in South West London and provides an insight into his training and ambitions for the future. Age and course I am 19 years old and I am a student studying Sport Science and Management Studies at St Mary’s. Why did you choose the course and what attracted you to St Mary’s? I’m still unsure of my career pathway after university. I want to be a professional athlete and in order to achieve my best I will need to train full time. The reason I chose business for part of my joint honours degree at St Mary’s was due to an interest in the business world and performing well in economics at A level. Also my passion for sport and conditioning made it an easy decision to study Sport Science, allowing me to explore all aspects of my training to be the best that I possibly can. How is training going, what competitions are you working towards at the moment? Training has gone so well this year, I am currently ranked first in the UK for the U23s and third for seniors. I also came second at the 2013 European U23 Championships in Tampere, Finland. This was my first year in the age group and I was running against athletes who could have been three years older than me. I was ranked fifth going into the competition but knew my personal best didn't reflect my current shape, so I was definitely aiming for a medal. This was my main focus of the season. I also won the inaugural Westminster Mile in May. With the season nearly over, I will compete in a few more races as a final push to try and improve my personal bests from 800m-3000m. It’s been a year since the London 2012 Olympic Games, what was your highlight of the Games?  In 2012 I was really lucky to have attended the Olympic Park twice, I was there for the ‘Super Saturday’ and saw Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford win Gold. I also had great seats for the men’s 800m in the front row of the home straight and saw David Rudisha break the 800m World Record. This for me was my highlight of the Games, the way he front ran it was amazing, he completely changed the 800m event and is untouchable when on form. St Mary’s was an official pre-Games training camp for London 2012, what is it like training here a year on? Training at St Mary's is great, it's one of the main reasons I chose to come here. We are so lucky with the track and gym facilities being right on our doorstep and Richmond Park only a short distance away. I train with Craig Winrow's (EPACC Coach) group; this enables me to run with excellent athletes and to be pushed in sessions. The athletes in the group are also my good friends and we all get along really well. You will normally see us on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in Bushy Park in the winter with Craig trying to keep up on the bike alongside us! What are your plans for the future? Is Rio 2016 on the cards? I have been invited to race at the London Anniversary Games on the 27th July in the mile event. This will be a fantastic experience as it will be a sell-out crowd at the Olympic Stadium! It is pretty near the end of my season now so I’ll have a few weeks off before starting my winter training. The winter training is really important for my event as it requires both speed and endurance. I do a lot of cross country running because it makes you strong and I hope to go away to Kenya again, for the third time, for some altitude training in October/November funded by the London Marathon. My main targets next year are the World Indoor Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games. These will be a vital learning experience as I begin my quest for making the Rio 2016 Olympic Team.
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