10 March 2021
On Friday 5th March, we had the pleasure of welcoming Lauren Williams to the St Mary’s community, to deliver a speech regarding her sporting career as a Team GB athlete. The girls were fascinated and listened intently to her talk, asking questions throughout. There was an extensive list of topics covered, ranging from the impact of Covid to her being an ambassador for Adidas.
Lauren discussed some of the challenges she has faced as a professional athlete and how she has overcome these to become stronger, both physically and mentally. She discussed how she wasn’t selected for a particular event and then at the last minute, got a call up to compete. She went into the race as an underdog and was convinced she wouldn’t even place in the top 5. She ended up winning the race and set herself a new PB. This sends a strong message to our girls, to never give up and to not let other people tell you that you aren’t good enough.
Lauren is studying a Business and Management degree at University, so balances her training time and her university work effectively. She travels around the world, training around 3-4 hours a day and continues to complete all of her university work. She has a varied training schedule, and the girls were lucky enough to take part in an active whole-body circuit, led by Lauren. Time management is a key skill to learn, to ensure you make time for the things that you enjoy.
As a young person, Lauren didn’t know that she wanted to be an athlete. All of her friends were going to Dance Club and Lauren was desperate to join Dance, however, her mum had already booked for her to join the Athletics Club that evening. She was quite upset with her mum, but as soon as she stepped foot on the track, she never looked back. As a young athlete she kept her options open and performed as a heptathlete. Since she has been at University, she has narrowed her event to a 400m hurdler. Lauren advocates being an individual and not following the crowd and this is exactly what she did.
Lauren discussed how Covid had impacted her and her training. Initially, all of her training venues were shut so she had to be inventive in order to maintain her fitness levels and remain in the Team GB squad. Using bags of sugar as weights and running around her local park became the new normal, to keep her physically fit. Lauren demonstrated motivation and dedication to her sport, to not let this affect her, and she has managed to keep mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming Olympics. Covid has hit at a vital time of her career. This time last year she was performing at her highest level to date, and since then everything has become a lot more challenging.
Lauren is a role model to our students, and we feel very fortunate that they have experienced such an inspiring speech. The girls asked many varying questions, covering a magnitude of topics. She is an ambassador for females in sport and is a mentor to young athletes who are wanting to become professional athletes.
We wish Lauren luck in her future career and will certainly be looking out for her at Tokyo.