Winter training hots up for Laura

Drawing of Laura Weightman by Francesca Simpson.
Drawing of Laura Weightman by Francesca Simpson.

She may be swapping a cold January in north Northumberland for an African landscape basked in sunshine.

But for Olympic finalist Laura Weightman, her four week stay in Kenya will certainly be no holiday.

The 21-year-old is aiming to rack up hundreds of miles during a month of high-altitude training at Iten – a frequent haunt of some of the world’s finest endurance runners.

With its dusty trails, oxygen-depleted air and the fierce Kenyan sun beating down, the London 2012 runner looks set to be put through her paces as her winter training hots up.

But she insists the trip will be hugely inspirational and will help her achieve her goals this season, which includes sealing a spot at the World Championships in Moscow this summer.

“Going to Kenya is really beneficial,” said the Morpeth Harrier, who flew out last week.

“At this time of year, it can be really hard to train in England because of the weather, but in Kenya, it will be hot and will give me the chance to get a good block of training in.

“It breaks up the long winter season and it is an incredible environment out there, with the heat and the altitude.

“It is hugely inspirational and there are so many talented athletes out there.”

Weightman trained for three weeks in Kenya last year, and she admits the experience played a huge part in what was an incredible 2012 for her – topped by an 11th-place finish in the women’s 1500m Olympic final in London.

She believes the four-week stay this time round will benefit her even further. She will also be joined by coach Steve Cram for a week.

○ This incredible picture, left, was drawn by Laura’s cousin, Francesca Simpson, 24, from Hipsburn.

It captures the moment Laura won the Aviva 2012 Trials in Birmingham, to seal a place at London 2012.

The picture was created by using a biro and white pencil on brown paper.

Talented Francesca was the winner of the 2012 Alnmouth Arts Festival Poster Competition organised in conjunction with the Northumberland Gazette.