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Up & Coming: 19 Year Old Olympic Hopeful Sam Lloyd-Perks on Training, Inspiration & Sponsorship Hopes

Rob Murray
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Rob Murray

Rob is a self confessed running geek, obsessed with all things related to the sport, whether road, track or triathlon.
Rob Murray
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Ever wondered how the UK’s elite runners progress from getting good times in school P.E. lessons, to making it as pro athletes? Sam Lloyd-Perks from the Midlands is, like many other young athletes, at a critical phase in his journey towards greatness. With British Athletics selecting for funding only those athletes with Olympic podium placings in sight, further down the chain, teens showing potential must be self funded, running with the support of local clubs and, if they’re lucky, signing up to a sponsorship deal.
Here, Sam tells us how he first got into running, what his training involves and his aspirations for the future.
(Pictured above, Sam with Paula Radcliffe after beating her in the Worcester 10k in 2014)

How did you first get in to athletics and running competitively?

I first got into distance running during a P.E. lesson in year 9 at high school, where I won the school’s trial by a mile and really enjoyed the feeling of winning. I then joined my local athletics club, Kidderminster & Stourport, where I met my first coach Dave Stock. I have since moved onto bigger clubs Halesowen AC where I won multiple races and was also awarded the club’s track performance of the year, two years in a row.  I have recently joined my new club Wolverhampton & Bilston with some of the country’s top runners!
Sam out training

Sam out training

What’s the running scene like where you are?

The running scene from my local area is fairly good, There are always groups to join for sessions and plenty of people to run with when it comes to recovery runs and those Sunday long runs. I have some great training partners for the hard, high quality sessions in Tom Kenderdine, Matt Thomas and Stuart Hawkes and the group I sometimes join in Wolverhampton.
I also have some great local runners to get the slower but longer runs in with such as John Carroll, Simon Gregg and a local running club called ‘Amazing Feet RC‘.

What’s your favourite workout?

I enjoy the majority of my workouts  but I would have to highlight longer rep sessions such as 5 x 1 mile or 6 x 1 km as my favourite sessions, because you are able to to run at a fast but sustained pace. These sessions are usually completed by a group of local runners and the session is lead by one of my coaches, a former Great Britain runner Matt Vaux-harvey. I really enjoy the social side of these sessions because it doesn’t matter how much pain you are going through, you know that the rest of the group are feeling exactly the same as you! We really push each other too and enjoy plenty of pre and post training banter.

And your least favourite?

My least favourite workout is one that many runners will most likely relate to, hill reps! These sessions can consist of several reps of short (30 second efforts), long (60-120 second efforts) or continuous hill reps (10-20 minutes of a loop of 2 steep hills). I usually try and get a group for these sessions because it is always 100 times harder trying to do these on your own. One thing I’ve learnt is that it doesn’t matter how fit you are, you are always breathing very heavy after running at effort up a hill.

Upcoming races in your diary?

My race diary is fairly quiet at the moment as I am currently half-way through a tough training block to focus on my half-marathon debut in April.  I have the British colleges national cross country next weekend and the Worcester half-marathon upcoming on the 12th April.  May will be as busy month as I have the Bupa London 10k and also the Market Drayton 10k too. Me and my coach will planning a series of races in between to see how my training is going and also to put some times out there.

What are your aims for the future? Tokyo Olympics in 2020?!

My future aims are to improve my times on the track this season and then make a transition to the full marathon in my mid-twenties. I’ve always been a lot more successful over the longer distances such as 5k and 10k since I started and I can honestly see my future being in the marathon. I have a dream of one day representing Great Britain for the marathon, tackling the worlds best runners in the tricky 26.2 mile road race. I have always been a very optimistic athlete, believing that anything is achievable with the right people around you and a hard-work ethic.  One of my other main aims is to break the magical 30 minute barrier for 10k as it is a distance I particularly enjoy running, I am hoping to achieve this in my ‘peak’ years which will be in 5-6 years time. I have a long journey ahead but I am prepared to sacrifice a lot in order to succeed.

Any tips on (other than yourself) any youngsters that are going to make it big soon…

There are a lot of top athletes in the UK but I think its time some of the local athletes closer to me deserve some recognition because some are destined for greater things in the next few years. One of these is a close friend of mine, a sprinter by the name of Edward Fussi. Ed moved to the UK from his home country of Tanzania a few years back and has been through a lot, he qualified for the English schools track & field championships for the 100m in his first year of athletics and dominated the sprinting scene in our county of Worcestershire winning back to back titles. He as recently joined my former club Halesowen and I believe he has a really bright future with the right training, he is definitely one to look out for!
One other future star who is also a good friend of mine is Birchfield Harriers distance runner Bryony Haines. Bryony was part of my training group based in Stourport before she moved on to a much bigger club in the form of Birchfield Harriers, she has been part of the running scene from an early age and has achieved so much for someone so young. She has competed in multiple national championships on the track and also cross country, she has also dominated our county and also medalled in the regional schools. Trust me when I say that Bryony Haines is a name the UK’s distance running community will be very familiar with in the near future!

Who or what inspires you to run?

My inspiration is making my family, coaches and peers proud, that feeling of knowing that they are all behind me every step of the way motivates me so much. I have also been inspired by many of the athletes who were or are at the top of the running circuit, mostly marathon runners such as Paula Radcliffe, Sammy Wanjiru, Scott Overall and Wilson Kipsang.  I love the feeling of completing a tough training session or a hard week of training, This gives me a real buzz but also provides me with a lot of confidence for when I reach the start line of a race because I know I have worked hard for this moment.

How’s 2015 shaping up?

I have had a fairly successful start to 2015 by winning both the Action Heart Dudley 5 mile road race and Shakespeare Raceway Stratford upon-Avon 10k road race in personal bests of 27:30 and 33:29 respectively. These times have ranked me near the top of the UK for my age group and I am hoping to run a lot faster this year with aims of sub 26 for 5 miles and sub 33 minutes for 10k. I also aim to run close to 15:30 for 5k and 75 minutes for the half-marathon. I am only 19 years of age and have already run fairly decent times so I’m very excited for the future. I am also very much looking forward to join James Thie’s outstanding group in Cardiff in September, when I start my Sport & Exercise Science degree.

Sam’s Weekly Training Schedule

As Sam says,
My weekly training schedule tends to change depending on the time of year and also what races are coming up, but this is the one I am currently using:
Monday – Recovery run (5-8 miles)
Tuesday – Rep/ interval session
Wednesday – Recovery run (5-8 miles)
Thursday – hill reps/ steady run
Friday–  Rest
Saturday – Tempo run/ Forest session consisting of hill reps and long reps
Sunday – Long run (10-14 miles)

Achievements To-Date

Beat Paula Radcliffe in the Worcester City 10k
Awarded Wyre Forest District ‘Senior Sportsman of the Year’ award
Winner of Action Heart Dudley 5 mile road race
Winner of Shakespeare Raceways Stratford Upon-Avon 10k road race
County of Worcestershire 3000m champion
Ranked 5th in the UK for the Under 20 age group 5 mile
Ranked 8th in the UK for the Under 20 age group 10k
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family and friends for all of their support over the past few years. I would also like to thank my training partners, especially (Lord) Tom Kenderdine, Matt Thomas and John Carroll. I would also like to thank my two coaches Richard Warder and Matt Vaux-Harvey for their continued support. 
Anyone who reads this and would like to to support Sam, please contact us
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Author: Rob Murray

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