of Glasgow AC
Camp With Kelly
was 3rd in the
Under 15s race at the Scottish
Cross-country Championships at
Falkirk's Callendar Park.
finished her season by running for Scotland against Ireland, England
and Wales at the Home Nations Schools Cross Country championships in Ayr on
Saturday, April 3, where she came 18th in the Intermediate Girls race.
Camp with Kelly
TO BENEFIT FROM HOLMES' HELP AT TRAINING CAMP
Kelly Holmes Training Camp, to be held next month in South Africa,
is an initiative to help young, female middle-distance runners from
the UK. Announcing in January that the inaugural month-long camp
would be sponsored by Norwich Union, Holmes said she "really
wanted to give talented junior athletes the opportunity to learn
from my experiences, both good and bad".
Among the eight runners selected is
Glasgow’s Joanne Finch. Finch is the second-youngest of the
athletes, having turned 16 last month, but she has shown sufficient
progress this season to earn her place at Potchefstroom, the
university town south west of Johannesburg that, for the last eight
years, has formed Holmes’ base for much of the year.
For a month the athletes will live and train
with the double gold medallist. "I
think that’s why she’s only taking eight,"
explains Finch. "I
don’t think she can fit any more in her house."
Finch heard of the camp by post. A letter in
July alerted her to the fact she had been shortlisted and invited
her to a selection day at the Birmingham High Performance Centre. "The
selection day was quite tough,"
says Finch. "We
had to do a bleep test, climb up ropes, hang from bars; and then
there was an interview. Kelly was racing the next day - and she won
- but she was with us the whole day and was brilliant. Even if I
hadn’t been selected for the camp, the day was really
That said, Finch admits that she became
introspective on her return home. Her mother, Susan, also a runner,
pressed her on why she was so quiet. "I
didn’t want to be too optimistic because I didn’t want to be
didn’t want to get my hopes up."
The Olympics came and went. In the Finch
household, they passed with Joanne
in front of the television, screaming for Kelly".
In the meantime, she also managed her season’s best performance,
finishing third in the AAA 800 metres in Birmingham.
Finally, the good news arrived on the
I’m looking forward to most is the chance to train as a full-time
athlete for a month, so that I know for sure that it’s what I want
to do when I leave school,"
says Finch. "I’m
also looking forward to being around athletes and learning from
Kelly. She’s been through so much but she’s still so passionate
about the sport - that’s what comes across when you meet
And it’s something the two athletes share.
Finch and her younger sister, Rebecca,
used to swim at national level, until, four years ago, their mother
"dragged" them along to their local track. "I
hated it for about a year,"
says Joanne. But when she realised she was good, she started to
enjoy running, and she was taken under the wing of City of Glasgow
coach Bill Parker. Meanwhile, 14-year old Rebecca shows as much
promise as a 1500m runner as her older sister does at the 800.
Mother Susan and youngest daughter Rebecca run today in the Reebok
Cross Challenge at Callendar Park, while Joanne will train on the
track ahead of her trip to South Africa.
She should have been joined there by another
Scottish middle-distance prospect, Morag MacLarty, but the 18-year
old’s university studies prevented her taking a month out.
Finch wants to go to university, too - to
Loughborough, where she would again find herself surrounded by
love this sport,"
she enthuses. "I
don’t know what I’d do without it. It brings so much to my
At this early stage, though, it seems
unlikely Finch will turn into a Holmes clone. "I
tend to be a front runner,"
tend to be a front runner,"
tend to be a front runner,"
tend to be a front runner,"
"I don’t think I’d ever have the courage to leave the kind
of gaps that Kelly left at the Olympics."
OFF TO TRAIN WITH KELLY
athlete Joanne Finch is to be trained by Olympic double gold
medallist Kelly Holmes in South Africa.
Joanne, 16, is the only Scot selected for a month-long
athletics master-class set up by Kelly to nurture a new
generation of ace runners. Joanne,
of Newton Mearns, is among eight British females chosen for
the Under-20s training camp by Kelly and Zarah Hyde Peters,
the boss of UK Athletics.
youngster triumphed in both the 800m and 1500m at this year's
Scottish Schools Championships - the same events which won
Kelly double gold at the Olympics.
The teen track queen, who
flies out to stay in Kelly's home in Potchefstroom, south-west
of Johannesburg on Sunday, said: "I'm
so excited, I can't wait.
"It will be quite tough
going but it will be fun.
"We are going to be
involved in intensive training sessions twice a day and we are
getting every Saturday off so that we get to see a bit of the
"Kelly is definitely an
inspiration to all of us and even more so after meeting her
"She is extremely
down-to-earth as well as being a superb athlete who has such
passion for the sport."
is ready to travel the world to follow in Kelly's footsteps.
She has already set her sights
on the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, where
she hopes to represent Scotland.
Olympics in Beijing, China, will be her next target in 2008
and she hopes by the time the 2012 event comes along she will
be at the peak of her performance.
A home-coming could then be on
the cards if London is successful in its bid to hold the 2012
will be training with some of her closest rivals at the camp
as organisers selected only a handful of athletes already at
the top of their field.
spokesman for UK Athletics said: "Joanne
made it into a short-list of 14. After meeting her, Kelly
immediately realised Joanne's potential.
"In terms of middle
distance she is already at the top of her field."
and weight training will both be on the agenda, along with a
host of other training techniques. The
athletes won't have to worry about travel or training costs as
Norwich Union has agreed to fund Kelly's training camp as part
of a promotion deal with UK Athletics, while Reebok is
supplying the kit.
Camp With Kelly is the brainchild of Britain's double gold
Olympic heroine who took part in a Parade of Heroes this week.
Kelly said: "I
have reached the pinnacle of my career. This is the ultimate.
I do not think I can repeat it."
eight teenagers will be put through their paces by Kelly and
other international athletes, who will taper their current
training regimes to maximise their abilities.
INSPIRES GLASGOW YOUNGSTER
is how City of Glasgow’s Joanne Finch describes her
recent trip to South Africa where she was part of a
special training group led by double Olympic gold
medallist Kelly Holmes.
“On Camp with Kelly” was a Norwich Union-sponsored
initiative, which saw some of the UK’s finest female
middle-distance prospects, spend a month alongside one
of this country’s most successful athletes ever, for a
full month at her winter training base in Potchefstroom.
16-year-old Finch, the Scottish Schools Champion over
800m and 1500m said: “It
gave me a real insight into the demands of being a
full-time athlete, not just the training, but the
sleeping patterns, meal times and physio. Everything
centres around athletics and performing.”
Despite having returned home recently, the trip has
inspired the Bill Parker-coached youngster and has given
her the drive to pursue her ambitions with extra zeal. “I
have a lot more motivation now and I feel much more
confident in what I can achieve.
“Kelly was so down-to-earth and so approachable,
she’s just a normal person like the rest of us. It
makes you think that if you put in the work, then you
can achieve too. She gave us some different stuff to try
in the gym and in the pool and I am going to keep all of
On her return to Scotland from the Southern Hemisphere,
Finch felt the chill somewhat. “It
was 40 degrees when I left South Africa and minus four
when I arrived back in Glasgow!”
Undeterred though she adds:
“I’m still keeping the same level of training going,
being back at school now, it means I have to be out
running at 6am. Which is sometimes hard, but I’m
really trying to stick to my programme.”
However, she has also expressed a desire to train in
warmer climes and having enjoyed her month away so much,
she is now looking at the possibility of studying in
South Africa when she reaches University age in 2006. In
the meantime she is focussing on the year ahead.
This weekend, she is due compete at the Reebok Cross
Challenge in Liverpool and after that she will switch
her attentions back to the track. “I
do the cross country just for strength, really I am more
of an 800m runner.
“So, I’m looking forward to the indoor season and
then come the outdoors I’m going to try and get the
qualifying for the European Juniors and World Youths.”
She says with an unashamed ambition most likely gained
from her “life-changing”
fourth meeting in the 2004-05 Reebok Cross Challenge Series takes place in
Liverpool’s Sefton Park on Saturday 4 December. It will be a chance for
three of the girls that trained ‘On Camp with Kelly’ in South Africa;
Rachael Thompson, Jo Finch and Non Stanford, to see how they fare on the
country. Meanwhile, fellow athlete Danielle Christmas is hours away from
competing in the 800m at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Australia.
the last day of the training camp in Potchefstroom, Holmes said: “You
have all worked hard out here, but the real work starts when you get home
and its cold and wet!”
So it’s back to reality now in the Reebok Cross Challenge for three
Non Stanford will race in the combined
Under 20 / Under 17 Women’s race.
been so cold training back in Scotland, I'm missing South Africa and the
rest of the girls."
was 33rd in the Under 17/Under 20s race at the Reebok Cross Challenge race in