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Disappointment, feelings of rejection and being treated unfairly despite being at the top of their game and the best in their field.  Seldom do we hear about the battles behind the successes of accomplished athletes.

I’m a very average runner, but I love it and I work hard at it.  I pay Gary House from RunStrong to do the structure of my sessions for me and I guess 95% of the time I put in the maximum effort to follow his instructions to the letter – and have seen great results.  And for comedy value Gary is a legend in his own right.

So I guess I look upon athletes who are competing on the international stage, wearing Team GB kit as gifted, hardworking, dedicated and definitely with an element of pride.  They are absolutely all of those things – they are extraordinary.  But they don’t have it easy.

Alexandra Bell is no exception, she is truly one the most inspired, strong and determined women I have ever met.  Alex, who competes in the 800m has previously been snubbed by UK Athletics and left out of Great Britain teams, despite achieving the required standards to be selected.

alexandra bell, 800m, runner, tokyo olympics, uka

Alexandra Bell – 800m Runner

Year on year Alex has shown a resilience in overcoming barriers put in place by UKA  and has continued to work hard to represent Great Britain in the recent World Championships, Doha, 2019.  Alex will not be deterred.

She also managed to lower her PB of 1:59:82 in the London Diamond League at the Olympic Stadium, and has also placed first in a team competition in Belarus representing the whole of Europe against the US.

Alex is the first female EVER to break the 2 minute barrier at a British Milers Event (Watford, 2018) on UK soil, and in the same year placed 5th in the Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast.  A force to be reckoned with indeed!

After such a fantastic couple of years you would have thought that Alex would have been rewarded with the much sought after National Lottery funding administered by UK Athletics but one again, Alex found herself overlooked in favour of others – despite meeting all the criteria and still improving her times.

Sadly, the lack of support from the Governing body on the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics, (which would have been held this summer) was not too much surprise for Alex.  But again, her reslilence shines through; she feels this was just another chink in her armour and another reason to stand up, go out and train harder and better than ever to prove her worth in the sport.

Alex had a fine year planned for 2020 and a strategy to win herself a place on the Olympic Team regardless of the decisions that have been made against her.  She believes in herself, she knows that she can be successful without UKA and get what she can and absolutely deserves out of the sport.

Rest assured, there is always a silver lining and the individual in question who held opinions of Alex against her is no longer within the organisation.

Alex breaking 2min barrier at British Milers Event, Watford 2018 – Credit Mark Shearman

Thankfully, some people we meet in life drop a gem that resonates with us so much that we take it with us for life.  A fellow colleague once told her “Assume nothing, Believe nobody and Challenge everything!”.  Throughout her sporting career Alex has applied this as the ABC rule.

“It’s so simple and concise but really effective too! The challenge is a big one for me and I always feel that if something isn’t right, or doesn’t sit well with you, stand up and speak out or challenge whatever it is you believe in!”.

Alex had a plan to compete early doors this season which would have included the British Championships which incorporated the Olympic Trials.  Unfortunately more or less every British event was cancelled, but never one to be knocked down Alex has found some races in Europe that will enable her to put the seasons training into practice and not let any of the hard work go to waste.

“This time has allowed me and my coach to “trial and error” a few things which in a normal track season, we wouldn’t necessarily had time to do. I’m definitely feeling so much stronger, fitter and happier and we made sure that lockdown and the situation of the COVID 19 pandemic was going to be a positive experience for us both.

Alexandra on her brand new Fitt-BOX – The Big Jim Box

“I came across Fitt-BOX through my social media platforms and boy oh boy am I glad I heard about them! With adapting and adhering to the quickly changing environment we were living in over the last couple of months, it was clear that my training was going to be majorly disrupted. I quickly transformed my garage into a gym and luckily enough gained supplies before everybody in the entire world wanted to do the same! The only thing I was missing to my new set up was a box! A Plyo Box is such a huge benefit to me being an 800m runner, as we need to be fast, explosive and agile all at the same time! This was the only part of my routine that I couldn’t really replace with anything else. I was attempting to make use of old dining chairs with dodgy legs to drop and fall from silly heights, which were very unsteady and not safe (to my coach, if your reading this.. I’m sorry for risking my life ?). Now I have the perfect set up and love the new addition to my workouts meaning I am safe and not compensating for anything in training. I’m so happy and privileged Fitt-BOX are on board and can be part of my Olympic journey going in to next year”.

I am so proud that Fitt-BOX will be contributing towards Alex’s crucial training and will indeed be making her life just a little easier.  Small gains are huge margins in competition.  After everything Alex has been through to just carry on and keep going, her determination and gratitude is still there is abundance; it’s cheery, enlivening and inspirational.

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