Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Mollie O’Sullivan and Wayne Vinton (June 2017)

There is little doubt, in my mind, when I saw the seventeen year old, Herne Hill Harrier, win the South of England ‘Under 20’ 800m by a huge margin on the 11th of June, 2017, I realised then she was a prestigious talent. (She also won the Surrey County Championships in 2:14.14 in Kingston in May 2017).
The times of the first three in the South of England ‘Under 20’ Championships was 1 Mollie O’Sullivan 20 (2:10.26); 2 Evie Grice of AFD (2:16.36) and 3 Annabel Quantrell of Cambridge & Coleridge (2:18.0).

Wayne Vinton, her coach “I have been coaching her for 15 months now.
He said “She has great speed, speed endurance, great strength. Schools cross country international. She has got that nice balance for 800m of speed and endurance. Very springy, a good high jumper (1.40 three times as an under 13). So she has got all the attributes to be very, very good as an 800 runner.’                    
‘I coach a lot of good athletes. In terms of potential she is the most talented athlete.

When did Wayne start caching?
‘About five years. I came from football. My son got into athletics. I used to be an athlete. I did some football coaching for a long time and then, when my son got into athletics; this rest is history.”

Mollie O’Sullivan “In (today’s) race in the Southern, you went into the lead and stayed there.
Was that what you wanted to do?

“Wayne, my coach, told me to do, to try and drive to get the time. He did not think there would be anyone close to me so; try to aim for the time. We were aiming for 2:08 but the conditions and the  wind…’
‘My best time was 2:09.61 which I did at a BMC open (Regional) race ‘The BMC are really good for getting a time.’

She started running “I was 9 years old in race (I too started when I was 9 too in the Prep school Sports)
You must have preferred it to other sports then. “I guess I have just got a natural talent for running in fact I quite enjoyed it quite young, at cross country. I won the Surrey schools and ran for England when I was in year nine but then I kind of tapered off a bit plus, I think I was getting taller and swaying more towards the middle distance 800/1500, I did not have the endurance to carry on with the cross-countries.’

Were her parents keen for her to do athletics? “They are really supportive. My Dad used to do a bit of running when he was younger but, really at school sort of thing.’
‘It is the 800/1500 I am really comfortable with doing and that is where I am most likely to excel (She ran 4:34.00 at the Watford for 1500 in an Open Graded meeting on the 1/6/2016).

As an under 20, you are running against 19 year olds!
‘There is less pressure being at the bottom of the age group really’

Are there any runners she had studied about as ‘Great’ runners for 800/1500?
“There is obviously David Rudisha internationally. I find  Roger Bannister quite inspiring. A couple of documentaries about him. I find that fairly interesting because, everyone said he could not do it and get under 4 minutes as he did. He said the conditions that day were not ‘Great’

Did Mollie train many times in the week?
‘About 4 or 5 but, not as many as in my age group. I am doing it slowly building up.
Nowadays people tend to peak and then in a few years, you don’t know who they are, because of injuries and things. I hope to keep going with a gradual progression. I am in the sixth form at School. I am looking forward to going to University but I am not sure which one yet. Not the USA.
I think a lot of people at middle distance, go out there and don’t really progress, as they train them very, very hard out there. They grind them into the ground.”

Alastair Aitken

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