Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and
Reports

Lisa Dobriskey (August 2011)

Lisa Dobriskey talked to me the day before she won the Grand Prix 1500 at Crystal Palace in 4:04.97 from Hannah England 4:05.73 and Shannon Rowbury of the USA 4:05.73. Her Best time was at Zurich in 2009 when she ran 3:59.50, which put her on the list as the second fastest ever UK runner behind Kelly Holmes.
Lisa was born on the 23rd of December 1983. She is now coached by her husband Ricky Soos who ran 1:45.70 in the heat at the Athens Olympic Games of 2004.

   " I started running at the school sports day in my first year in Southlands comprehensive school. I just won the 800 then the 1500. I just took to it very naturally, compared to my classmates who really did not enjoy it.
Was it at Ashford athletic club where she really started to enjoy her athletics.
"I was fortunate to have coaches there who were basically into enjoying sport. I was never pushed, although I came with an obvious talent at middle distance running, I was never pushed down that path. It was a case of try the multi events, everything you wanted to try.'
Were there special runners you admired at that time
" Definitely.Just as I joined Ashford they finished building the Julie Rose Stadium.She was somebody I instantly admired and I had learnt a lot about her and her life was cut short at a very early age. We had the stadium built in her memory. We had a Julie Rose 10k set up and, I did the fun run..I just aimed to try and beat her records. That inspired me at that age at club level and I broke her 800m record with a time of 2:11.That was my memory of an inspirational character.'  
You gradually went on and blossomed as an international. At what time did you feel you could run at a good level
 "I really started to enjoy my athletics when I started University at Loughborough. That was when I started to think I could do this as a profession. I had a couple of years as a junior where I struggled. Just worrying and changing shape a little bit, all the kind of things that go with it. That was quite hard because I had  been very successful as an Under 15 and under 17 then, I had a bit of a dip and my first year Under 20.Then I started to get a bit of momentum.' (She was AAA's Under 15 & 17 Champion at 800.)
Races that  stand out around that time
" I remember the European Under 23. I was 3rd in that race (4:12.95 in 2003 Bydgoszcz). The girl who was 2nd was disqualified for a doping offence so I was actually bumped up to second in the end. That was an enjoyable event. The whole Championships was really good fun and I really enjoyed it."
That must have given you the taste for international competition
" I have always had a few problems with injuries,just the way I am built. Got quite a difficult lower back and left hip.That has always been a challenge. I have worked on improving my posture and strengthening in 2007.'
   ' I had a had a breakthrough year the following year as a result of doing that and it improved massively for me.I was able to invest more time into sport and
training.'
  The races that must have meant most to you must have included the World Championship silver medal in
Berlin in 2009
(August -1. Maryam Jamal (BRN) 4:03.74, 2 Lisa Dobriskey (GBR) 4:03.75, 3 Shannon Robury 4:04.18) and 4th in the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 in 4:2.10.
  " The Olympics were a big memory but mixed emotions'
Malinsowski finished 4th in the Olympic steeplechase in 1972 and said to me, there was no worse place than fourth but then again you were fourth in the World by coming fourth in the Olympics!
   " Yes it was quite good.Perhaps I have been a bit of a ' Nearly There' in the Olympics and, in the World Championships, missing by 1/100th for a second.
  The Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006 you won in 4:06.21.
" I was injured for the last one. I was only 22 when I won the Commonwealth so, I kind of thought I had out performed my expectation, perhaps the people's expectations. I just found it quite hard since then. It is very different if you win a race and you don't expect to win. Actually going into a race and wanting to win and executing it successfully, there is a big difference. I found that quite hard to pull it off. It is a very different challenge.Going into a race with no pressure it is a lot easier than having higher expectations put on you by people. I found that difficult to cope with successfully.'
 A very fit athlete is so often so close to injuries or being in top shape and, it is often so close between winning and losing a race.
 " A fine line being between being immensely happy and just rock bottom it's such a fine line. That can be a stride. A few 100/th's of a second.and, how your racing can be or respond to it..It is difficult but it makes the sport but it is a challenge.'
Being in the right place at the right time
  " Exactly."
I always remember a runner who one would not have been necessarily, considered amongst the best in the World but he achieved so much. John Whetton was his name. He ran in two Olympic 1500 Finals and was brilliant as an indoor racer and a  European Champion outdoors etc. He could read a race correctly every time. He was a great tactician and  won the European in Athens in 1969. He told me after that race in Athens. ' If it had been a few yards further Murphy of Ireland would have beaten me but it was 1500m and not 1500 plus 10 yards'!
   " Athletics is very interesting and is exciting. It is always easy to look back on races with hindsight. Before a race you never know what is going to happen.  you never know how it is going to unfold. You sit back and watch the race and it is so easy to say ' I should have done that or I should have gone there. It is quite difficult to view a race and look back and be productive about what you have done and try and nit pick and move it forward'
   You got married in December 2009 to Ricky Soos a very good runner himself
    " He has run 1:45 for 800 and went to the Olympics when he was 21.He has had terrible injuries though and lots of problems but he is running. He has always kept training and  trying but whether he will ever reach the level of that I don't know. I think he just enjoys his sport and being part of athletics. He really understands about athletics. It makes a big difference to me wanting my success.'
  Is there a race over all the years that gives you satisfaction for any reason at all
  ' I think the Commonwealth Games was the biggest one for me.There is nothing like winning a race. It was just amazing the whole thing.It was unbelievable.The best feeling I ever had. A nice memory to come back to."
  ' Which is your favourite event
   ' The 1500'
 ' Do you think you will continue for quite a while'
  " I would like to. I love athletics and I can't see my life without running.'
   ' Even at my age of 71!'
  ' It is just a sense of freedom. We live quite near a nature reserve and I ran along by the canals. I think the best time to run is early in the morning.I always get up quite early on a Sunday.Ricky runs with me but hates getting up at 6'O'clock on a Sunday but there is no one about it is just really nice.'
    What sort of training do you do in the week that enables you to get sharp enough to run internationally in the Summer
   ' It varies through out the year. Winter we would be focus on building a base and get stronger. In the Summer we reduce the miles and do sharper stuff specifically for the 1500 with 800 sessions. I do like the 800 but I find it a difficult one to get right. It is an event when you go slightly too fast on the first lap and it really hurts.The 1500 you have got a little time to pull yourself back and re-group.'
  I found the third 200 was the hardest part when I did the 800/880yards with my club Highgate Harriers in the late 1960's
  ' I think 800 is almost a sprint. It kind of falls into a sprint category.A 1500 you can feel a nice rhythm and relax. Jenny (Meadows) can sit at that 800 pace naturally. Ricky my husband when he runs the 800. He makes it look effortless but if you send him on a long run he is so uncomfortable.He does not feel right.Each to their own isn't it.' (Lisa's personal best was in Zurich in 2010 when she ran 2.00.4)
   Do you  remember a certain time it was your breakthrough
"I think it was 2008 was the year. I had come from just being on the scene to being World class and that was when I ran four minutes.I have run that a twice in two consecutive years."
  What are your favourite things
" I like spending time with my family and that is quite important to me. I think things you take for granted with your life style. Go out for a meal and have puddings and a glass of wine and that sort of thing really.The social side of life you miss out on a little bit, when you have to be quite strict with yourself in the Summer season.Early nights,naps in the afternoon and  training schedules three times a day, quite anti-social.'

Alastair Aitken

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