Saturday, 5 October 2013

So I Guess I'm Non Stanford...World Champion...?!

It's all still very surreal. It's approaching 3 weeks ago and although London now seems like a distant dream, it still hasn't really sunk in. I'm guessing that it won't really ever. 

You spend you're whole life working towards something, dreaming of the unattainable, holding on to childhood fantasies of fairy tale endings, rainbows and butterflies. As you grow older your grasp on reality tightens and although you still have dreams of shooting for the moon, you mostly hope you'll land somewhere in the middle, maybe among the stars. 

So what do you do when your dreams actually become reality? I always thought it would be a moment of epiphany so to speak. I always held sporting 'stars' in such high reverie. Thought of them as super humans. Don't get me wrong I still marvel at the achievements of some of our greats; Mo and Wiggo to name but a few of late. They truly are amazing. But I also consider them to be true masters of their traits; all knowing, general 'Hercules' figures. 

Pretty sure Disney has a lot to answer for in terms of my childhood ideals. 

And then 2013 comes. And I'm stood there on a pretty miserable day in September, in a soggy Hyde Park, clutching a World Championship Gold, 'God Save the Queen' starting up, while someone gingerly hoists the union jack up its pole. 

Did I mention 'World Championship Gold'?! 
I mean, 'say what?!' 
That was pretty much my thought process during the entirety of that ceremony. Not very eloquent I know. But I couldn't quite grasp the reality of the moment. I wasn't sure I quite felt ready to be a World Champion. Not that I didn't want to be there. Far from it. I just didn't feel very 'all knowing' or indeed, very much like Hercules. I was shattering my own idealistic illusions.

Because the fact of the matter is I'm just Non. 
"That kid who runs a lot?"
"Yeah in form E in St Jo's"
"From Swansea?"
"Bit of a funny name. Is it short for anything?" 
And without running the risk of sounding like a J.Lo cover, in my head I'm still that girl; 'Non from the block'. Okay definitely not from the block. More like 'Non from a detached red brick in South Wales'. But you get my drift. 

Far from feeling like a master of my craft, I still feel I have a lot to learn. Have more progress to make. And with this probable plenty of mistakes and mishaps. Hopefully less broken bones, and visits to the penalty box, but I think I've realised over the past few weeks, that nobody has all the answers, or knows what it is to be perfect. Even World Champions. Without conducting much thorough research, I wouldn't mind betting that many an athlete has stood atop a major podium and felt a little inadequate. A little less 'hero' and a bit more 'rabbit in headlights'.

It's only when you give yourself the chance to step away from the celebrations, 5minutes of alone time to really consider what it is you're being congratulated for, that you can appreciate it and maybe even give yourself a little bit of credit. A small internal high 5. Not an external high 5 though because then you'd just be clapping yourself and thats a bit much really isn't it?!  

And although I can't still quite believe that I'm a World Champion, I can now appreciate that maybe I do deserve it. I'm not an overnight success story. I've had my fair share of trials and tribulations along the way. I might only be 24, but it was pretty much 24 years in the making. And although this is starting to read like a Brother's Grimm tale, and some might say I've had my fairy tale ending, I'm hoping that this story is more of a chronicle, or at least there are a few more chapters remaining. 


  1. A brilliant post Non - as eloquent and insightful in words as you are talented and resourceful on the track! Huge congratulations to you! With my best wishes, Richard Pyke

    1. Thank you for the kind words Richard...I'm guessing this is Richard Pyke the Colin Firth look alike who used to teach me English?!! Hope you're well :)

    2. Thank you for the kind words Richard...I'm guessing this is Richard Pyke the Colin Firth look alike who used to teach me English?!! Hope you're well :)