Former Cheltenham and County Harriers representative George Watson believes his current condition is enough to race well in his two upcoming athletics events in February, despite recent lifestyle changes.
“I’m still mentally and physically in the game. Still training just as hard, between 90-100 miles a week, fitting it around my job. I am in Northern Ireland next week for the Armagh international 5km race, and i’ve taken some annual leave to get over there with subsidized travel, which to me feels like a free holiday, but it’s a bit of a business trip I suppose if I’m going out to race.
“Hopefully we run something pretty quick, I think I’m in shape to run under 14 minutes for 5km, so we’ll see how that goes. A few weeks after that I’ve got British Indoors in Birmingham. Again, that’s exciting as I’ll be besides full professionals. It’s a little intimidating as it’s a bit tough training around work but I’m invested and ready to full send it.”Embed from Getty Images
Utilia Arena; Birmingham
Despite Watson becoming employed in a different sector, maintaining his physique as well as track times has been a priority of his, which has affected his aims for both the 5km race in Armagh and the 3,000m event in Birmingham.
“In Armagh, I’m racing for time, for under 14 minutes. In a different sense with the indoors, I’m just hoping to mix it with the big names, to try and be competitive. At the end of the day I am an underdog, and that’s a powerful position to be in.
“It’s really just going out there and racing like you’re not an underdog, and to see how it goes. If we can be competitive at British indoors in February, then when we come to British outdoors in June/July time, I can guarantee ill be in better shape come summer time. I suppose just get stuck in and execute the plan.”
Watson has broken several records during his time at the Cheltenham and County Harriers, with his most notable achievements being a 7 minute and 57 second record for the 3,000m event, as well as an astounding 28 minutes and 49 seconds recorded for 10,000km.
Despite not being associated with the club currently, Watson still represents the Harriers through the vest he wears during the events, and believes this the staple for his continued success as a runner.
“I live in Loughborough, but I still wear the Cheltenham vest when I’m racing. I’m not directly coached by them [the Harriers] anymore, but i’m happy wearing the Cheltenham vest when I’m racing.
“I suppose it’s because I feel grateful they got me into the sport, and I’m quite a hometown guy, its quite nice to represent the starting point.”
For Watson, it has never been about the title of the club he represents, but more so the one that resonates with him the most.
“Emotionally I work harder when I represent something I believe in. It’s similar to being the underdog in the British Indoors, I do quite enjoy that. Not really caring what people think, not many know who the Cheltenham Harriers are. Just to run with heart, I don’t need to be a part of a big club.”
The Armagh 5k Annual International Road Race begins on the 8th of February, with the UK Athletics Indoor Championships commencing the weekend of the 17th February.