Stephen, 18, from Brighton, is a dedicated and talented athlete who has excelled in competitions around the country with his running. He has also been nominated for the Argus Sports Personality Award and won Sportsperson of the Year at BACA and Brighton & Hove City AC. This is Stephen’s second Edward Starr Award, to support the costs of travel to take part in national competitions and race entry fees.
Training is going exceptionally well, really positive and mentally happy at the moment. I have a few 3000-5000m races coming up in the next few months. Other big news, after I ran the Brighton Marathon 10k, I might have the opportunity to run a 10k for England again in Rennes (France) in October. Will find out next month if I have made the team.
Good luck Stephen who is about to leave the UK for the trip of a lifetime with the British Exploring Society. Stephen and a group of other young people will be travelling to the Yukon in Canada. We wish him all the very best.
We have teamed up with the British Exploring Society, who work with relatively small groups of young people to deliver transformational youth development in the wilderness. They create unique expeditions to challenge and transform the expectations and future lives of young people. We were thrilled to learn that Stephen was chosen to take part in a three week trip to the Canadian Yukon. This will be an amazing experience for Stephen. He will be raising his own funds to cover equipment costs. We are super excited to hear how he gets on.
Stephen is currently managing his time between a job, studies and training. To help him out with this, our Trustee Rich Bates has offered to conduct some one to one Time Management training with him.
Our Champion Stephen and his family travelled to India this Christmas to train with Dan Lawson for a month. Dan is a British ultra runner and charity worker from Brighton who also does charity work in India for OSCAR India, a non-profit organisation that, through football, instils the value of education and empowers underprivileged children and youth with life skills to take responsibility of their community development. He holds the course record for the Grand Union Canal Race and in 2016, he won the European 24 Hour Championships. Before Stephen started his month’s training with Dan, he and sister Becca visited the Oscar Foundation to deliver football equipment that they were donating to the young people there and run a football session with them. Stephen’s father told us: “Ashok, the charity’s founder laid on a banquet and then took us round the slum area where the charity originated from and showed us all the amazing things they do with so little resources (lump to our throats). We eventually arrived at a park where they held one of their football sessions and were invited to coach the children. All in all it was a fabulous experience”. Stephen has been attending yoga classes in South Goa four times a week which have helped with his hamstrings so he has been able to train and race while there, and went on to win the sunset run in Goa while breaking the course record.
Some words from Stephen: “Since injury it has taken a few months to get confidence and fitness back, but through training sessions and speaking to people I am slowly moving forward positively. I have competed on three occasions this year. First race was the Sussex Road Relays at Christ Hospital where I was really pleased with my performance, finishing third overall fastest behind two great runners Charlie Grice and Spencer Thomas. A few weeks later I competed in the first British Athletics League Competition in Crawley K2 arena, where the race was tactical so my finishing time was not great. However came away with a victory pulling away 600m to go with last fast 400m. On Wednesday 31st May I competed at the Brighton Phoenix Open BMC, where I competed in the 3000m and came away with another victory. Since I am not fully fit yet and not where I would like to be, I was disappointed with my time.”
Fantastic News!!! Stephen has won GOLD at the Sussex schools athletics championships at the K2 Crawley on Saturday 11th June. He raced the shorter distance of 1500m to gain some speed work and finished 100m ahead of the field with a great time of 4.08.81. His next championship race will be the English schools in Gateshead on July 8th where he will compete in the 3000m. Well done Stephen!
Stephen tells us about his time training in Portugal: “Firstly, I would like to say thank you to everyone at the Starr Trust, for their generous help of providing the funding so that I could fly off to Portugal, where I could train in the warm weather. I travelled to Portugal on the 1st April 2016, to a beautiful town called Vilamoura. The villa my training partners and I stayed in was amazing. Over the 12 days that I stayed in Vilamoura I trained twice a day for 8 days and had one day off. The training sessions I participated in differed depending on the volume of session, for instance there were 800m, 1500m and 3000m sessions. For some of our sessions we visited the local track. I enjoyed running on the track, however it was ripped up and needed relaying which made it hard to run on. I visited the accommodation where I stayed last year at Browns Training Facility where we used their gym on three occasions. However, using the gym was not cheap, we had to pay 12 euros each time we went, it was worth it as it was a great gym and I was able to train hard when using the equipment. On two of the main training days I visited an old European cross country course where I did my repetition session at my tempo pace. I also did a hill session there, which I found really hard, even though I have just finished the cross country season, and I am used to running on the hilly, twisty courses. I was able to train with some of the best runners in the country who have won medals at the British Championships and one of the athletes had also competed in the final of the women’s 800m in Beijing, at the World Championships. It was a fabulous experience training with these guys, as it inspired me to train hard and win medals in future national and international championships. Through this experience in Portugal I had to learn to do everything for myself, I had to buy my own food, cook it and do my own washing. This I found hard to start with, but I soon learnt to put together a good meal. I have now cooked my mum, dad and sister a meal since I have been home. As well as becoming a better cook, I have become more positive in myself. I believe I have got stronger physically and mentally. I think this because since I arrived back in England I have trained brilliantly and feel confident that I will run faster times this year on the track.”
Stephen ran the Brighton marathon 10k on Sunday, finishing in 6th position out of over 2,500 runners with a time of 32mins 14secs. Well done Stephen!
The Starr Trust agreed to pay for Stephen’s warm weather camp to Vilamoura, Portugal. Stephen will fly out on April 1st with an elite group of athletes, and will be staying for 12 nights in a shared villa to train, eat and sleep in preparation for the upcoming track season. Below: Stephen leading the field at the UK intercounties U20 men’s race at Cofton park, Birmingham. Stephen was running really well until having a stumble and finding himself way down the field. He did however compose himself and battle through to twelfth position which was fantastic considering the top runners from all over the UK were present.
Stephen has been selected to run for England in Elgóibar, Spain on January 24th, following his excellent recent form over the last few months. Good luck Stephen! Stephen raced at the Sussex County xc championships on Saturday that were held at a very muddy Bexhill. He ran brilliantly and won the gold by a massive 2mins 27secs.
Stephen was chosen to run for England in the IAAF Permit Event in Burgos, Northern Spain on Sunday 15th November. Big congratulations from us all at the Starr Trust. He went out with the leaders and decided (maybe a little unwisely) to take on the race himself. Towards the end he tired slightly but still managed to finish a magnificent 8th. The size and strength of the field - which included top European and North African runners - and considering Stephen is first year in this age group gives us all plenty to look forward to!
- Midgie Goes The Extra Mile for the Starr Trust Brighton-based mental performance coach and author, Midgie Thompson, has pledged to deliver a year of mental skills coaching to Stephen. Midgie is donating her services to the charity as she is committed to supporting the Trust help young people across the BN postcode fulfil their potential and loves to work with up and coming athletes. Midgie says: “I’m really excited to be working with Stephen along with the support of the Starr Trust. Helping Stephen to develop the mental skills and winning strategies will make a positive difference to his running career and to his personal life. I’ve worked with individuals in all different sports and at all levels and I really love working with young people like Stephen who are passionate, talented and receptive to trying things that will make a difference. I can’t wait to see him achieve his dreams.” Stephen says: “I am really excited about this opportunity. This will really help me with my athletic career and in general my everyday life. I would like to thank Midgie, Rob Starr and the Starr Trust for their help and support.” By making connections between experts like Midgie and young people like Stephen, the Trust hopes to extend its support beyond the awarding of financial grants.
Stephen has been nominated for the Argus’ Sports Personality of the Year award! This in itself is a fantastic achievement and we are looking forward to seeing how he gets on at the ceremony on 8th June.