Team GB hurdler Perri Shakes-Drayton pledges to 'run her heart out'
Friday 03 August 2012
Team GB's Perri Shakes-Drayton has promised to "run her heart out" when she competes in the 400m hurdles on Sunday.
The east Londoner, who “never dreamed” she would be an Olympian, vowed to give “whatever it takes” to get to the final.
Last month she reached second place on the all-time list of British 400m hurdlers behind former world record holder Sally Gunnell.
The eureka moment for Shakes-Drayton, 23, came in her final competitive meeting before the Olympics, at Crystal Palace.
It followed a poor performance at last summer’s world championships in Daegu, South Korea, where she failed to make the final.
As she took to her blocks in the rain and wind at the south London track she told herself: “Come on girl, pull your socks up.”
A photograph of her crossing the line captures perfectly her shock at finishing in 53.77 seconds — 0.51 seconds faster than when she won bronze at the 2010 European Championship and almost a second quicker than Irina Davydova, the Russian who won the European title in Helsinki in June.
She said: “My aim for that day was to come home with a season’s best. To run a PB, I was like: ‘Wow, it was in me.’ ”
Shakes-Drayton was raised in Bow and educated in Stepney before studying sports science at Brunel University. She still trains at Mile End stadium, coached by Chris Zah, running in everything the British weather can throw at her rather than retreating indoors.
She said of her Crystal Palace victory: “I’ve trained in worse conditions, the weather didn’t faze me one bit.”
Nevertheless she won gold in this year’s 4x400 relay at the world indoor championships in March in Istanbul. Shakes-Drayton began running at
primary school “for the fun of it”, but enjoyed distance events more, the 800 metres, 1,500 metres and cross country.
She said: “I never did well at that so my coach said to try the hurdles. I never ever dreamed of being an Olympian. I was just training hard and discovered a talent that I had and it’s brought me here. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get me to the final, that’s my aim. I’m going to run my heart out in each round.”
Shakes-Drayton still lives close to mother Norma Shakes and father Patrick Drayton — Lennox Lewis’s former fitness trainer.
She is so known in her neighbourhood that there is a constant stream of well-wishers telling her, “all the best” and “I’m rooting for you.”
“It’s really nice, wherever I go, every-one is behind Team GB,” she said. She added that the streets she loves have changed “drastically” with the Olympic developments.
Where the Olympic stadium now stands, she once browsed the Sunday market and there is now a “Tesco Express on every corner”.
She said: “Stratford looks amazing. It’s a lovely place and I’m proud to say that I’m from there.”
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits record low as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Germany sees 'visible rise' in support for far-right extremism in response to perceived 'Islamisation' of the West