ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT – CHRIS MCALISTER

TVH’s new British Athletics League captain Chris McAlister aims to lead from the front in helping TVH push on from last season’s strong first season back on the Premiership.

A fine 400m runner who in recent years has excelled over 400m hurdles, Chris’s ability to pull out big performances in the League matches has done a lot to help the TVH men’s team rise through the ranks.

With PBs set from an excellent 2016 season, Chris is looking to improve again this year and get below the 50 second mark for the 400m hurdles this summer. And hopefully celebrate a successful team season too!

Performance progression:   http://www.thepowerof10.info/athletes/profile.aspx?athleteid=208545

1. How did you get into athletics ? 
At my first secondary school sports day I got put in a 4×400 on last leg and overcame a gap of about 15 metres (other reports say 20 but I will not embellish) to record a heroic win and I became addicted. Although I only took it up as my main sport when I was 17, about the same time I realised you couldn’t get girls playing cricket.
2. Which achievements in the sport are you proudest of? 

I won the English Schools title in my first year as a 400m Hurdler. This was the first time I had even qualified to go, so that was pretty special. I recorded a 1.2 seconds PB in the final.

3. What have been the biggest factors in your development? 
My training environment and coach. I have trained with Marina Armstrong for 5 years now, although not directly whilst at uni. The time she devotes to me and the group is a clear factor in our progression: she is always researching new ways to get us running faster and devoting time to getting things perfect. I was also consistently pushing my boundaries in early 2016, running PB times in 6 out of my first 10 races in the year which was a great period for me in hindsight.
4. What’s the toughest challenge you’ve overcome? 
 

I seemed to have one setback after another last season (2017) but I’m very proud in hindsight with what I managed to achieve after injury and a tough final year of university. University presented a great challenge in mostly training solo for three years, I am glad to be back in a group environment now.

5. Who have been your heroes/role models? And your mentors? 
My whole training group are inspiring environment, Jacob Paul has been an excellent mentor and role model to me and has helped me develop quickly as well as Marina.
My athletics idols are quite obscure: David Hemery, John Akii-Bua and Arthur Wint are all very inspirational to me and have fascinating stories, all worth reading about if you get the chance.

6. What part has TVH played in your development? 

I joined TVH in 2014 when looking for a higher claim club. Team manager Paul Oppe took a punt on me (then an obscure 56 second 400m hurdler) and the rest is history.
Competing for TVH has pushed me hard, especially now we’re in the prem. Both my 400 hurdles and 400 flat PBs were for TVH in 2016 so competing for the team and helping push for promotion has brought out the best in me.

7. What are your top athletics goals – for the near-term and the long-term? 

This season I am looking to kick on from my British Champs final appearance in 2017, I’d like to win national medals and consistently run 50 point times.
Longer term, I’d like to stay healthy and push for international selection and lower my time to under 50 seconds. I’d also love to travel around and race in as many places as possible.

8. What are your interests and aims outside athletics? 

I am lucky enough to have a stimulating and accommodating (for training) job in the Civil Service and I would like to work my way up, helping to sort out brexit in the process. I’d like to be involved in public politics one day and promote my love for sport to the world.
9. What’s your top training tip? 

Drink Guinness for Iron. If you don’t like it then (try to) run with a smile and remember your goals every session.

10. Describe your personality in three words! 
Persistant, Passionate, Industrious.

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