Lauren Roy has progressed rapidly over the past couple of years, and her selection for the European Indoor Championships was just reward following a winter, which saw her win the Irish 60m title and lower her personal best to 7.39. At just 18 years’, we could be hearing a lot more from this athlete in the future.
LM: How did you get into athletics?
LR: I started athletics at school in third year during a PE lesson. It was all just a bit of fun and I particularly enjoyed the high jump. I was told by my PE teacher to join Ballymena and Antrim AC to train for the high jump. Weeks passed and I wasn’t as good at it as I thought, instead I realised my run up was my advantage and so I turned up to a sprints session instead. It all started from there.
LM: Do you, or did you, play other sports?
LR: As a child I was very sporty, I particularly enjoyed gymnastics, and still watch gymnasts on TV in awe, wishing I could do what they do! I also took part in horse riding for many years and hockey in school. However, at around the age of 15 I started to take athletics a little more seriously and the increase in training meant I had to give up my other sports. It was worth it though.
LM: When did you realise that you were good at running?
LR: It wasn’t until I attended my first All-Ireland Schools Championships in 2015 and won gold in the 100m that I realised I could actually be quite successful at this sport.
LM: What do you count as your best achievements so far?
LR: The best achievements for me personally are my first Irish vest back in 2016 at the schools international, being selected to run on the Irish 4x100m team in the Diamond League in 2018 and being selected to run as a senior for Ireland in the European Indoor Championships in 2019. Also, running under 12 seconds for the first time in 2018 was a great moment.
Lauren Roy, City of Lisburn AC, Co. Down, competing in the Senior Women 60m event during the AAI Indoor Games at the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown, Dublin earlier this year.
LM: Are you from a sporty family?
LR: My mum’s side of the family would be particularly sporty in the field of boxing, hurling and football. My dad’s side are into football and rugby, however as far as I know I’m the first involved in athletics in the family!
LM: You really seem to enjoy the sport.
LR: Yes, I definitely do. Like many things, it has its lows, but the highs definitely make up for it. I describe this sport as honest; the results should show an honest representation of how hard you really worked, there’s no hiding when you’re on the start line.
LM: How did you end up at City of Lisburn AC?
LR: I moved from Ballymena and Antrim AC to City of Lisburn AC a few years ago as my coach sets most of the sessions in Belfast
(sprinter, Amy Foster and middle-distance star, Kelly Neely are also members of City of Lisburn AC).
LM: What is your favourite distance?
LR: This is a hard one as I love 60m, 100m and 200m. My strengths probably lie within the 60m and 100m, however 200m has always been my favourite.
LM: Have you a favourite meeting?
LR: I enjoy every athletics meet and each one has its own unique highlights, although I do enjoy the Manchester International, which is on every August. It’s a senior meet which I have attended for three years in a row now, competing for Northern Ireland, and as it’s senior it gives you a sense of freedom in that you can do your own thing, prepare for your race individually, and the actual meet itself is very well organised.
LM: You seem to have recently improved at an incredible rate. What do you put this down to?
LR: My coach!! Definitely, my coach, Adam McMullen is the backbone of my success, he is the one who always manages to have me ready for my competitions and who always knows how I’m feeling and how to fix things if they go wrong. Also, my mum and dad play a huge role as they keep my diet going well and take me to every training session and competition without fail.
LM: Do you train alone or with a squad?
LR: Some of my sessions are alone but any other time I have a great training partner, Michael McCauley, who is always there to help push me on.
LM: What are your plans for studies?
LR: I’m still in my final year of school at the minute, so after my A Levels I plan to take a year out to focus on training, and then head to university where I will continue to train.
LM: Have you any targets for the coming season that you are happy to share?
LR: My main targets for 2019 are to firstly stay healthy and injury free, secondly to reach the final of the European U20 Championships in Sweden, and thirdly enjoy and be grateful for any opportunities I’m given. Sometimes as an athlete you can get carried away and be disappointed instead of looking at the bigger picture and realising the opportunity that you’ve been given and others haven’t.