AFTER being massively inspired by the London 2012 Olympics, 34-year-old James Linney set himself the challenge of trying every single olympic sport by the time the Rio games began in 2016.
Since that early pledge he’s tried it all; track cycling, swimming, shooting, canoeing, equestrian sports – as well as trampolining and gymnastics.
His latest challenge is to run the Great Newham London Run in July and although he wasn’t initially inspired by the thought of running James now loves it and can’t wait for his latest feat.
Natasha Harding spoke to James, 34 who lives in London with his wife Rhian, who’s 29 about running, training and trying things he never thought he would.
James, who works in marketing says: “I was totally inspired when watching the London 2012 Olympics. I managed to get loads of tickets and went to the athletics stadium on two occasions (including the last day when Mo Farah won the 5,000m), and it was incredible. “When the Games finished I wasn’t sure what to do with myself – so I came up with the idea of trying to participate in every Olympic sport by Rio 2016.”
Although he’d always been active, James wasn’t doing as much exercise as he used to before he started the challenge and had put on weight so worked on his fitness levels by taking up running again. Since since 2012 he’s lost three stone and feels fitter than ever.
He says: “I feel so proud of everything I’ve achieved and love the way I feel. I’ve always done lots of team sports in my life but things that involve agility and balance such as gymnastics have really challenged me – but strangely I’ve enjoyed that.
“I didn’t ever think I’d run a marathon because I didn’t think it would be my thing but I absolutely love running now. I love the freedom and flexibility of it – and you always feel better after a run, no matter what.”
James joined the Ealing Eagles running club which has 500 members and goes out with them twice a week. He explains: “Joining a running club was really important and it’s kept me focused and going forward.”
After trying so many different sports James finds it hard to choose a favourite as he’s learnt different skills from them all. He says: “As a single, one-off event, track cycling (completed at the Olympic Velodrome) was definitely the most fun that I’ve done but I’ve also loved learning to dive as I had never even been able to dive in from the side of the pool, but by the end of the course I was completing hurdle dives, back dives and diving off the 5m board.”
James is also doing the Great North Run in September and is viewing the Great Newham London Run as part of his training plan and isn’t too focused on the time that he completes the race in.
He’s running the race with his wife and two friends so would be happy to complete the 10k in just under an hour.
He says: “My wife has really got into running now and we train together twice a week now which is lovely. It’s been really inspirational for both of us and I think that finishing the run in the Olympic Stadium will be fitting for everything I’ve done over the last four years.
“The main thing for me has to be the personal accomplishment. I am proud of what I’ve achieved and the money that I have raised for Charity, in particular Get Kids Going. I feel passionately about
children exercising more regularly and to support disabled children get into sport, means a lot to me.
And James still has more fitness goals and says: “Running is my number one sport these days, but I also plan to do more triathlons from next year and with more time, I’d love to get into rowing. “On an ad hoc basis I’ll most probably continue trampoline and horse riding.”
THE Great Newham London Run 10km and Family Run 2km takes place at the former Olympic Stadium on July 17.