Journey to Gold Coast: Nikki wins bronze at half marathon

6 March 2018

By Nikki Emerson

Nikki in the holding areaThis Sunday’s Big Half Marathon marked exactly one month until the Commonwealth Games kick off in Gold Coast, Australia, so it was an important test for me.

I knew it wasn’t going to be a fast race having seen a map of the twisty, strangely tunnelled course and been warned of the cobbled areas en route, but nothing could have prepared me for just how tough it was!

Dedication’s what you need

By the time I came over Tower Bridge seven miles in I was seriously questioning whether something had gone wrong with my training or my race chair, as I was as tired as I’d usually be in the closing yards of a marathon.

Nikki during the raceI ended up finishing third to two of the strongest athletes on the circuit, beating a German competitor who I’d expected to leave me in the dust.

I can’t say I enjoyed a single second of the race until I felt the familiar bump of the finish line timing mats under my wheels.

That’s the thing about sport. Even at elite level it’s not always fun and, contrary to what some athletes might tell you, we don’t always love it.

What makes us win medals is the dedication to get out of bed even when the thought of going out training in the snow makes us want to hide under the duvet, and to sprint over the finish line even when just getting to it at all seems as tough as climbing Everest.

So why do we do it?

Nikki on the medal podium at the Big Half Marathon

For me, it’s definitely not about the trophies (they live in a cupboard), it’s about the endorphin rush that comes from pushing my body to its limits.

It's the feeling of freedom when I’m speeding along an empty road in my race chair; and the knowledge that when I get home I can eat cookies with no guilt and no concern that I won’t fit into my jeans the next day.

Everyone will be motivated by different things but the first step is finding a sport that gives you those happy feelings, and making a habit of doing it every day.

Read more about Nikki’s story.

Nikki is a Team England athlete and Can Do Sport ambassador. She is documenting her journey to next month’s Commonwealth Games: Nikki will be racing in the T54 1500m and T54 marathon at Gold Coast 2018.

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