Middle distance athlete Charlie Grice reached the 1500m finals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where he made his Olympics debut, and he now has his sights set on Tokyo 2020. Twenty-three-year-old Charlie was originally a keen footballer before deciding to take on athletics full time and trains all year round in his hometown of Brighton. Taking time out of his training schedule, Charlie talks about his experience at the 2016 Olympics, his weekly training and what life is like living in Brighton.
How did you decide on an athletics career over football?
I hated losing! It would annoy me when people weren’t as disappointed as I was at losing a game when I had worked so hard. Athletics is an individual sport and that appealed to me. It’s down to me and down to me only on that track. No one else to blame.
You competed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, what was your experience like at there?
My experience was an incredible one. The Olympics is so special because it only comes around every four years and it is a multi-sport event. It was such a rollercoaster of emotions. I nearly made a swift exit in the first round as I was pushed in the last 15m but I got put through. I then had to raise my game for the semi-final and I finished in an automatic qualifying position to make it through to the Olympic final!
Do you hope to compete at Tokyo 2020?
Certainly… I’ll be at my peak by then so hopefully I can do better than Rio and get on the podium. I now know what it takes to get there so it won’t be so new to me next time.
Do you have to train all year?
Yeah, I will take a day off every ten days but apart from that, I am running seventy to eighty miles per week, depending on how my body is at the time. Last year I had to take ten weeks off because I tore my plantar fascia tendon. However, this season I took a week off because this season has been slightly less stressful on my body.
Where do you train?
I train in Brighton at different locations. My track workouts I do at Withdean Stadium and I run a lot in Stanmer Park, Withdean Park, Preston Park and the Steyning river path.
Can you tell us about London’s Fastest and is it something that happens each year?
It was an event that Nike put on. Their marketing strategy changes frequently but Nike Fastest was a chance for Nike to bring together their best athletes with the public to share their experiences.
What’s been your favourite country you have visited as an athlete?
Kenya. It’s the running mecca of the world and it’s so inspiring to see. Poverty creates champions.
Do you get the chance to explore the countries you visit?
Not really… When I travel to compete I will fly in the day before a race and be stuck in a hotel resting up for the race. Apart from a little jog and a walk to the local shop for snacks, I won’t see too much! I love travelling though so I hope when my career finishes I get to look around the places a little more.
Who would you say is your biggest competitor?
I don’t focus solely on one individual.
Do you find 800m or 1500m more challenging?
1500m is more challenging to get right because it is a mix of speed and endurance.
What was it like visiting Kenya’s first public children’s hospital built by Shoe 4 Africa?
As I said, Kenya is an amazing place and to be able to put a smile on the kids’ faces by giving them gifts was really a great experience.
You’ve previously uploaded blogs, do you have plans to upload any more?
Potentially! If my followers want to see more of what I get up to then they should get in touch! At the moment, my favourite social media platform is Instagram, so people should give me a follow on there.
How do sponsorships come about?
When you reach a certain level you get approached by sports brands and sports agents. Agents will take an athlete to market and negotiate with the brands and see who will offer the best deal. Private sponsorship is limited, and unless you are a World Champion, there are limited opportunities available.
What do you like most about living in Brighton?
I like how quirky it is and being by the sea is really cool too. It’s also perfect for my training; my coach and training partners are here, and running on the hills makes you strong.
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