Team GB hurdler Perri Shakes-Drayton pledges to 'run her heart out'

 

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.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas