Local Athletics News Roundup

All the Athletics News from the Mersey…

World-class Boccia comes to  Liverpool and KTJ’s journey to the 2017 World’s.

Liverpool hosting 2018’s World Boccia Championships

You could be forgiven for mistaking Boccia for a kind of Italian bread, but in fact it’s a precision ball sport, similar to the British game of boules or the Italian bocce, that has been designed specifically for people of severe physical disabilities to play. Teams from all around the world will travel to Liverpool to compete in the 2nd Boccia World Championships which will take place at the Exhibition Centre, just down from the city’s iconic Albert Docks.

Team GB took home one gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, but this only showed a glimmer of the potential that our British athletes have. During the last dedicated international Boccia tournament, the BISFED 2016 World Open, British athletes regularly took the top spots in a number of the categories, suggesting that the best is still yet to come from our current crop of Boccia players. We’ll just have to wait until August next year to find out – the tournament will take place from the 9th to the 19th.

Local hero Katarina Johnson-Thompson falls short at World Champs

Ask any Scouser who Katarina Johnson-Thompson is and they’ll be able to tell you. The now 24-year old local girl first made local news headlines when she broke Jessica Ennis-Hill’s junior Heptathlon record at the 2009 World Championships. After winning gold there she was soon working her way to achieve the 6,150 points that are required to qualify for the Olympics. By 2012 she had done this and was ready to compete in the London 2012 Games; although she finished in 15th place, she was highlighted as a prospect for the future.

Three years later and she was performing on the world stage once more, this time in Beijing at the 2015 World Championships. In arguably her most disappointing performance, KTJ struggled to complete her long jump attempts, eventually finishing 28th in the event. This was an even more disappointing turn of events, considering that she had been sitting in 2nd place behind Jessica Ennis after the first day of the event.

With a dramatic build up such as this laying the groundwork to her return to the World Championships in London this year, the pressure was on for Katarina to perform in front of a home crowd that expected her to return in a big way. Unfortunately, despite her best efforts she fell short of the 1.86 barrier, this time in the high jump event, leaving her in 5th place at the end of the Championships. Despite these losses, the future still looks bright for KTJ – she’s certainly come along way from her practice track in Wavertree!

The Five Scottish Ski Resorts You Should Go To

There’s never been a better time to take a Skiing holiday in Scotland.

For decades the only destinations worth visiting for an authentic skiing experience were settled firmly in the alps. The huge range of European resorts that cropped up during the end of the 19th Century were pioneers in the field of tourism.

During the 60s, thousands of ski areas were born as the post-war world scrambled to make the most of the new demand for tourism. Amongst the countless of resorts that opened their doors during this period was Aviemore. Constructed in 1961, the resort, set in the Highlands, finally provided the British public with a closer place to ski.

Whilst there are now more flights from Liverpool to ski resorts than ever, why not look a little closer to home for your next holiday?

Scotland is now home to five Ski Resorts, each with it’s own benefits and drawbacks – here’s the lowdown:

The Lecht Ski Centre

The Lecht was opened in 1977 by James McIntosh as the Cairngorm’s answer to Aviemore. Whilst the resort has arguably not stepped up to the High Table in respect to the International Skiing World, its still a great option for families and beginners.

Go between January and March for the best coverage and bring your camper van for a bonus saving on accommodation!

Cairngorm Mountain Resort

This popular resort is famed for its consistent, solid snow, all the way through to April. Settled within Cairngorm, the same region as The Lecht, this resort comes recommended by former Olympians and ski professionals alike and is even home to a mountain railway.

Passes are a little more pricey but well worth it.

Glenshee Ski Centre

If you’re truly looking to test your abilities then Glenshee should be at the top of your list of destinations. January is the absolute best time to visit this huge resort and make the most of their massive variety of terrains.

In addition to the usual accoutrements, its also kitted out with some neat electronic systems to make your stay even smoother.

Glencoe Mountain Resort

For the more daring, experienced riders, Glencoe offers some of the most significant steep slope skiing challenges in Scotland. Unfortunately, due to the relatively unspoilt nature of the resort’s slopes, it can be hard to predict when the best time to go is.

If it snows then you should head up as soon as you can to make the most of the sweet runs.

Nevis Range Mountain Resort

Between February and March, prevailing westerlies blow in heaps of snow into the back bowls of the Nevis Range Mountain Resort where thousands flock every year to make the most of the site’s excellent back corries.

This is an easy to access resort with some great connections – making it a great option for beating the crowds.

Rio Olympics Round Up

Thousands descended upon Rio for the Olympics last month, and boy was it a spectacle.


From the eye-watering display of colours and emotion at the Opening Ceremony to the jaw-dropping performances from the myriad of super talented competitors.

Unlike any other games before it, the Rio Olympics felt like a really 21st century Sporting Event. After all, an event whose history that goes back to 1896, always feels a little retro.

The power of the Olympic Games is held within the nostalgia of seeing men and women from across the globe race, swim and throw their way to victory. Every four years, they grace our screens and every time this happens we are transported to all the other instances of watching the Games. Four years is a decent stretch of time and life always seems to have changed irrevocably during this time.

mo-farahWhen we watched Mo Farah win his two gold medals, we smiled and laughed with him. But we’d seen it before.

When Nicola Adams retained her boxing title, we clapped and jumped for joy. But we’d seen it before.

This is the paradoxical nature of live sport. It is both ephemeral and concrete. Whilst we are watching it, that is all there is.

The men striving to jump just a few centimetres further have only that small window of opportunity to achieve their goal – and all we can do is watch them.

Perhaps one of them has had a particularly good day leading up to his competition. He has stretched and mentally prepared.

Perhaps, a couple of hours before arriving at the stadium, he took a walk along the white sands of Rio and bumped into a group of street urchins.

Playing football with them, he lost himself in the pure nostalgia of ‘kicking a ball about’ and rediscovered a child like sensation of excitement.

With this feeling of optimism and joy in his heart, he could take his leap of faith and gain that extra centimetre on his competitor, winning himself a medal.

With more than 11,000 athletes taking part in this year’s games, there is a story for each and every one of these intrepid individuals.

For every Ping Pong player, Hammer Thrower and Steeple Chaser there is a loyal group of excitable fans back in their home country, screaming at their screen – urging them on. Every individual has their hopes and dreams of winning, bringing their prize home and treasuring the endless stream of congratulations and acclaim that they will receive.

Regardless of the winner, the losers or the record breakers. This Rio Games belonged, as it always does, to the supporters and viewers.

An estimated 3.6 billion people tuned in to watch the games this year – that’s more than the population of China and India combined. Billions of people watching some sports that they’d never seen before; placing bets, eating dinner, discussing politics. The Olympic Games provide the world with 2 weeks of golden water cooler conversation – an ice-breaker that could aid billions in finding a little more in common with their fellow man.

Orangeries For Clubhouses

A good sports club needs many things.

It needs equipment and a place to play.

It needs the enthusiasm of a supportive community. It needs the expertise of coaches and organisers. It needs, of course, players and lovers of the sport it chooses. And, when it gets to a certain level, a sports club needs a clubhouse. That’s right. A house for the Club. A club needs a house, and a house needs a club.

What is a club without a house?

It’s a lonely, pointless, homeless, empty wondering ghost. Slipping from field to field without ever truly registering its love or desire to be more than just an idea, more than just a thought. A club wants to exist truly, in place, it wants to be grounded and solid.

Do we all want this? Do we all want to be grounded and solid?

It is always scary, grounding yourself. Some seem to truly crave it, to want to find an opportunity to settle and ‘put down roots’ or whatever. This means that they are quicker to find people to do this with, and it is clearly in one way easier for them to find a person to do this with, because they are certain that it is something they want. It is not to say that it is then simply ‘easy’. There are of course struggles and hardships along the way. But it is one less question to obsess over.


For a club, the questions are not to different: Is this club of ours serious? Are we all going to be here in a few months? Are we still going to be committed in a few years?

That is suddenly the scale that we are on, once we start considering a clubhouse. The new fad for clubhouses this year is apparently Orangeries. If you don’t know what an Orangery is, well…

THAT is an Orangery.

To all intents and purposes, basically just a conservatory with less glass. I hear from friends down South (were these trends often take hold first) that all the new clubhouses they’ve seen built this year have had Orangeries.

So it looks like they’re the way to go!

Swimming On Merseyside

Swimming, I’m fairly sure, is a pretty good form of exercise.


A) It uses, like, all of your body. Almost every muscle is engaged in full muscular exercise. That muscle, this muscle, leg muscle, arm muscle, all the muscle.

B) It cleans you as you exercise and then there are the showers. Oh lord, the showers. They sit there by the swimming pool, just out of sight from the pool, so when you’re in the pool you’re always thinking ‘Are they still there? Are the showers still there? They where there a minute ago before I got into the pool… are they still there? GOD I HOPE SO!’

C) Being in water is nice. It is, if you disagree you’re wrong – so bugger off.

D) Everyone’s at the swimming pool! Kids! Teenagers! Adults! Old People! Swimming Pool Employees! Swimming Pools!

E) Everyday, when you wake up, you should be aware that the day you are about to live would be a better day if you’d just go for a swim, so GO FOR A BLOODY SWIM!

F) Well, leisure centres are pillars of the community where people can meet and sit and have a chicken burger in a big bun, with a small chicken portion in the middle and a bit of lettuce.

G) And, finally, it’s good for your health. I think. According to ‘scientists’.


So what does this all mean?

It means ya’ll need to get swimming.

So what do you do here in Merseyside? Do you go to a leisure centre? (https://liverpool.gov.uk/lifestyles/find-a-centre/) Or a private gym? (https://www.britanniahotels.com/hotels/the-adelphi-hotel-liverpool/health-leisure/) Or maybe even get your own pool built? (http://www.paramountpools.co.uk/) I mean, if you’ve got the money then you should totally do the last one of those and all the other ones of those. Because, if you can buy yourself a pool, don’t be a bad person, still give money to the community.

So get out there! Get swimming! Get going! You mad fool!

Different In America?

In America, all things are quite different.

From the way they eat their food, to the way they shout about their politics, from their politics to their accents to the way that they talk.

They are very different to us, from the way they walk, to the way they move their legs when moving on their feet. They are very different to us, from the way they drink alcohol, to the way they get drunk.

They are just a bit different. When it comes to how they raise their sports people (athletes), they have really a rather very different approach to us – one that means almost all – all – of their sports people (athletes) have college (university) degrees.

‘So the dinosaurs were here, right got that, then what?

In America, the production line for sports people (athletes) goes: school, high school (secondary school), then COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP!

This is the big thing, an American football player does not just do nothing but play football at an American football club their whole life. They go to college and do nothing but play American football for their whole life BUT, at the end of all that, they get given a piece of paper that pretends they’ve learnt a degree.

So, good for them!

Well, but, what is life like for these college student sports people (athletes)? Do they end up desperately different to our sports people (athletes)?

Well, interesting. Interesting, interesting, interesting.

Well I’ve been doing a bit of research haven’t I? I had a look at some stuff about what American college people respond to (http://campussolutionsinc.com/2016/01/19/marketing-to-college-students/) and also looked at some stuff about the day-to-day life of a college sports person (athlete) (‘A day in the life of a college athlete’ http://www.shmoop.com/college/college-athete-day.html) and I can conclude these three things:

  1. America is strange and different.
  2. Young American sports people (athletes) are not well read, culturally vivacious polymaths.
  3. American Football is a sport that requires very, very specific skills of most people in its team.

So there we go. USA! USA! USA! USA!

Help Your Body, Help Yourself

My Mum is a 62 year old woman who plays tennis once a week.


She used to jog but she’s had issues with her legs and with her ankles so she packed that in a while ago so that she could save her self for tennis.

She loves playing tennis. She plays doubles with her friend Jenny and they have been doing really well over the past few years, working their way up through the leagues that run at the local club. After playing each week she, her doubles partner and the other ladies who play around the same time, meet in the small club house and have a cup of tea and chat and laugh and generally have a good time.

My parents moved around a fair bit in their earlier life and moved to where they are now, where this Tennis Club is, about 16 years ago knowing no one in the city. My Dad has never been very social and didn’t really seem to mind, but my Mum likes having friends and likes being part of a community. It is through Tennis that she found those friends and found that community, her games are one of her favourite bits of the week. It is also something she enjoys as an individual, away from the family and husband who make up so much of her life (I think happily it must be said!).

In her tennis world she is defined only by her personality and her play and I think she loves that, it is an expression of independence that a person needs. Before Christmas, her leg was getting worse and she was struggling a little. We went for a walk on boxing day and her ankle hurt so much that we had to cut it short. She’s now had to stop playing tennis for, hopefully, just a couple of weeks. But we shall see.

Tennis is a hobby for my Mum, but it is also clearly more than that and her inability to play has really affected her life.

She is sad about it, she misses her friends, she misses the feeling she got from playing, she misses a lot of things. She’s also getting a little angry. She’s angry that she can’t play and she’s angry at her body for being the reason for that. She’s angry at that damn leg. She’s now got to embark on a course of physiotherapy which will be difficult and not a little gruelling. She’s started doing stretches every day and paying very close attention to her body.

But, the problem is that she hasn’t always paid such close attention to her body.

The message here is this: look after your body, look after it in the good times, look after it when you’re flying and when you feel invincible, look after it then and it will stick with you in the bad times when you need it most.

M.A.F Profiles: Kilian Jornet, The Miralce Man Of Mountain Running

Kilian Jornet Burganda can often, on investigation, seem impossible.

That he is the greatest endurance athlete of his generation is clear, but that title actually quite cruelly downplays his exceptionality.

Yes – he is the greatest in his sport (sports), but it is the margin of his greatness that really sets him apart. In his 24 hour races he will almost always win by at least a clear hour from the other competitors. Last year he ran the 165 mile Tahoe Rim Trail, on his way he stopped only two times to sleep on the floor (his combined sleeping time was under 90 mins), in the darkness of the night he lost his way and ran an extra 6 miles to get back on track, he finished the trail in 38 hours and 32 minutes a world record. This is all incredible and amazing, but hard to judge for those who do not know the sport, so here’s some help: he beat the previous record set by Tim Twietmeyer, who was long thought of as the greatest ultrarunner of all time, by seven hours. 


Jornet is, according to his own mother “not normal,”. “My mission is to make Kilian tired.” She says “Always, I was tired, but Kilian, no.”

By the time he was 25 Jornet had won every major race in his sport and broken every record.

He announced himself at 20 when he entered the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in Chamonix, one of the primary and most competitive events in the ulta running calendar, he won and he won well against a highly competitive field including the sports best known runner Scott Jurek. He also set a new record for the course, and won it again the next year. And the year after. So, not bad really.

“Don’t think that you need to run, need to train, that it’s an obligation. It’s just. Go out and enjoy it, because then it makes it so much easier. You go to the training because you like it, you feel much more relaxed, you don’t take something too seriously. I think it’s important to do sport in a serious way, but don’t take it too seriously”

During the summer Jornet, like a lot of us, goes for a jog before breakfast.

He laces up his shoes and steps out his front door and then he runs close to two and a half miles (vertical miles) up Mont Blanc and then up into the mountain world that exists above 15,000 feet. He’ll run across a landscape of snow and ice, of jagged glaciers and past climbers, pro and amateur, he’ll get home in a clean 7 hours. It is a journey most spend days completing. Often he does these runs only stopping to drink from streams and eat wild berries.

Kilian Jornet is not simply the miracle man of Mountain running, Kilian Jornet is a miracle.