Is It Really ‘The Friendly Games’?

Birmingham 2022 is just around the corner and I’m definitely feeling the weight of the event starting to bear down on me. You can tell yourself as much as you want that it’s just another race and just to go through the processes, but at the end of the day, it’s been a four-year journey to get back to the Commonwealths. It’s both exciting and nerve racking.

But should I be feeling like this? After all, the whole event is pitched as ‘The Friendly Games’.

I think naturally yes. No matter how you market the event, it still matters to me… or any athlete competing. It’s the next biggest multi-sport event to the Olympics. I’ve done multiple multi-sport events in the past, from Island Games to the Youth Commonwealth Games and in 2018 the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Each time you take part in them, you realise how valuable it is to travel and be part of a team!

Being part of a multi-sport event allows you to be integrated within the team, feel supported by the backroom staff, and motivated to do everyone proud. You just know that they will all be watching and feed off your performance. It doesn’t even matter how you do. If they see the effort you put in, then they will be buzzing off of the back of it. I know I do when I watch others perform. It just makes you want to do better in your own events.

In terms of preparation… am I doing anything different? Yes and no! I have changed my training program a bit to be slightly more tailored to the course and give myself a bump in fitness. Running more hill reps and increasing the overall workload are two ways we’ve done this, but that’s not to say I’ve changed my whole approach at all. The sessions and total time training has remained very similar… What I’m doing in the lead in is a slight bump in the low end intensity efforts rather than the high end ones, just to give me that extra bit of umpff… but it’s unsustainable. To do this for more than a few weeks would start impacting work and family life and even increase the risk of injury!

I’ll move into the village on the Tuesday before the Friday race… so plenty of time to go through the three hours of sitting in the welcome centre waiting for a Covid test, do a bit of training on the Wednesday, and then some reconnaissance on the Thursday. In all honesty, I’ll try and take in the atmosphere as much as I can, but I’m going to be fully focused on resting, recovering and being prepared for the race, rather than being out and about.

The course itself doesn’t overly suit me. I’m a slightly heavier triathlete and it’s a very hilly run. My swim and bike are my strongest disciplines, and they seem relatively straight forward. I’ll just have to do what I can in the first two thirds of the race, and see where I end up!

At the end of the day, I’ll be giving it my all. I feel as though I’ve done everything I can to prepare for the race and I can’t wait to represent Guernsey as well as I can. It’s always an absolute privilege to represent the island, and I’m as proud a Guern as they come. I feel very fortunate to be able to compete for Guernsey at these events, and can’t wait to sport the flag on the start line.