Teenage sprint star reveals gruelling effort to reach Olympic dream
- Credit: Archant
From revising trackside to talking to your coach about periods, a 16-year-old sprint star has revealed what it takes to go from teenage girl to world class athlete.
Serena Grace from Norwich is only 16, but has already been competing on the international athletics stage for nearly seven years.
The young athlete, who runs the 60m, 100m and 200m, was spotted while she was still at primary school, and joined the City of Norwich Running Club, who she still competes for.
In July, the Notre Dame High School student scooped two gold medals in Bucharest, Romania, while representing Team GB at the International Federation for Catholic Schools Games.
Currently ranked number one in the East of England in 100m and 200m, Serena's mother, Vanessa Butcher, describes her running style as "effortless", which is deceptive, considering the rigorous training regime the 16-year-old maintains.
You may also want to watch:
Racking up more than 10 hours training a week, alongside studying for A-levels, Serena has had to think outside the box to keep her busy life on track.
She said: "When I was studying for my GCSEs I revised while I was at competitions, in between races by the track. A lot of people end up dropping out of training while they do exams but it has a big impact even missing one week of training."
- 1 Ex-Canaries striker seals Championship move
- 2 Ghosts of business past: Empty shop units for rent for £100,000
- 3 Revealed: New Anglia Square talks take place
- 4 Revealed: How much to rent former high street store
- 5 New bid to limit city centre offices being turned into flats
- 6 New hotel could 'destroy character of Norwich Lanes'
- 7 Hot property Maddison adds up for City
- 8 'Happy, carefree' memories of Samson and Hercules flood in
- 9 Big screen unveiled in pub garden for England's Auld Enemy clash
- 10 Community shock after teenager knocked unconscious as robbers steal trainers
Serena believes the demanding schedule is one of the reasons many girls give up sport once they hit their teens.
She said: "A lot of people my age want to spend their time hanging out with their friends in the city or they get into relationships and that's hard to juggle."
For the 16-year-old, her coach, Mike Utting, is a constant source of motivation, and has supported the youngster and her mother since they met five years ago.
Serena said: "Your coach gets you through bad days and you have to be honest about it. If you're stressed, having doubts or on your period for example.
"It all has an impact on your performance. Mike is good at reminding me of the long game. I'm aiming for the Olympics and one race doesn't change that."