Continuing his exclusive column for Sevenoaks Sport & Wellbeing magazine, Kemsing’s very own world record holder and Olympic athlete, Tom Bosworth, joins us once again to talk about life and the devastating news about the Olympics in Tokyo.
“Where on earth do I start? What a month it’s been since we last spoke. Life has changed pretty dramatically and many of us, myself included have been through an absolute roller-coaster of emotions.
March started so very well. My first race was at the British Indoor Championships, winning in a new British Record time. I took to the roads on March 1st in Coventry, this time over 10km at the England championships and the trend continued. Victory and a new British record of 39:10. I was in the form of my life. I knew I’d managed to train so well through the winter months that it was all coming together so perfectly. My peak was coming this summer, at the right age with the right amount of experience, something special was coming.
Then as the days went on after the race, the daily news of the threat of the spread of Coronavirus was getting worse.
I remained positive, as athletes we’re good on washing our hands and avoiding illness when we travel, so I pulled out the hand sanitiser and carried on.
I was preparing for my first 20km of the year. 20km is the international distance for race walking. I was heading to a European permit race in Slovakia and was so excited to go back to race there as that was where I broke the 20km British record for the first time, four years ago. Despite moving it on since, I knew I could go and better it again this year.
Then possibly the worst 48 hours happened. About 10 days a go, races started cancelling, we had others we could do, so we got in contact, changed our flights and continued to focus.
Things were changing by the hour. By the end of the week, the five main races were cancelled, flights grounded and borders closed. I was heart broken. All that work put in, I’ll never get the chance to get the results for it.
Facing a spring and summer with no racing I found myself searching for money. No prize money, no speaking opportunities, the country is in lock-down. I have no income, as I’m self employed I’ve found myself in a position which I never thought possible, I’m now completely reliant on my partner and his stable job to be able to continue.
That became even more important when, the final nail in the coffin came on March 23rd. The Olympics are postponed.
There’s nothing I can do, it was the only correct decision, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be devastated. That I am. This year felt like the coming together after injury, mental struggles, years of experience racing and competing. New gym work meant I was stronger and the best winter of mileage meant I was faster than ever. Then it was all taken away.
Mentally it’s incredibly tough to know I came this close and possibly this was my time, the opportunity that comes once in a lifetime for those few medal winning athletes.
I know now that I can get myself fitter and stronger again, I’ve already done it once. So now we tick over, training once a day in isolation until some normality returns.
I hope you’re coping with your isolation? Keep moving and try and keep fit the best you can. If you’re sitting behind a desk working from home, go for fresh air in your breaks, jump around, run up and down the stairs a few times, don’t just go and sit down on the sofa, it’ll do your physical or mental health no good.
So that’s where it leaves us. All in the same boat with so much uncertainty. But what we do know is we are all in this together. I wish you all the best of luck, stay strong and focus on the little things. We’ll see each other on the other side of this, which will come.
The Olympics will come next year and I’ll do my best to make sure that once in a lifetime moment happens.
If you’re stuck at home get in contact, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter/Instagram @TomBosworth.
If your company are in a position still able to support with sponsorship, I am truly in a desperate position so please do get in contact.
Till next time I hope you’re all staying safe, avoiding others, listening to the guidance and of course, washing your hands. Stay safe.