Carly Tait used to work full time at our Angel Square support centre but is now working towards a place on Team GB for the paralympics this summer. We’ve been following her progress through training to race season, where she has to demonstrate to the selectors why she should be part of the team.

Carly explains: “I’m in the midst of competition season racing in Bedford, Manchester and Stoke Mandeville. Performances have been strong and full of promise, and already I have set multiple PBs [Personal Bests] across the 100-800m events that I do.

“Last week I was in Stoke Mandeville where I had two full days of races (heats and finals). I PB’d in all my events and then again in some of the finals. Although it was very sunny there were some very tough head winds (as the track is so open) and to PB in those conditions was very exciting.

I took 0.2 secs off my 100 to 19.43
4 secs off my 400m to 66.46
0.2 secs off my 200m to 35.53 (-4 wind, practically a gale!)
1.5 secs off my 800m to 2.25.02 (again bloody tough winds!)

“The most surprising event for me was the 400m. A 4 second PB is huge and I wasn’t expecting to shave so much time off it. I am now 1.5 seconds away from my direct GB competition – who I must beat!

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Considering I started the season with a 400m time of 73 seconds, it’s a huge testament to the benefits of this sabbatical and shows just how much I’ve improved with the help of the Co-op.

“This year is quite different to many others, it’s the first year I’ve achieved final times in races and the first year I’ve been in the ‘A’ finals – with the fast girls. With the times I’ve achieved so far, I see myself as a serious contender, not just a hopeful… no time to rest though. I have to keep going and keep setting PBs to give Britain no option but to select me.

“I have another set of races in Bedford. The week after next I’ll be travelling to Switzerland for the biggest event of the calendar – this is the peak of the season and performance wise is a very important milestone.”

We’ll continue to follow Carly’s progress throughout the season so they’ll be more Road to Rio blogs soon. In the meantime if you’d like to show Carly some support, please share your comments below.

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