Liz Yelling

Liz Yelling Interview

Liz Yelling is one of Great Britain's best ever distance runners. In her illustrious career she has won the National cross country championships 4 times, won a bronze medal at the 2006 commonwealth games, represented Great Britain in two Olympic Games. In the Beijing Olympic Marathon she was leading for the first 10 miles before being tripped. Liz broke a rib in the fall but her will and determination saw her over the finishing line in an astonishing 2hrs 33 mins.

ATW caught up with Liz Yelling before the London Marathon where she was bidding to reach her third Olympic Games. Unfortunately she did not achieve her goal on this occasion. Liz went off hard at the pace required for the Olympic spot but it wasn't to be, instead Liz decided to enjoy her last marathon. After the race this is what Liz had to say:

"Well I set off with the intention to run fast, but a nervy issue I have been fighting for the last 3 years came back to haunt me. I decided to enjoy the race, my last marathon! I have been so moved by all the support, before, during the race on the streets of London and also after on twitter, Facebook and in person! Thank you for making the day a very special end to my marathon running. Time now for the next generation to take over - good luck: Claire Hallissey, Louise Damen, Freya Murry, Amy Whitehead and Sonia Samuels"

Liz Yelling has been an ambassador for British middle distance running and this comment from her husband Martin Yelling (on twitter) was very moving:

"Today at the London Marathon I was a proud husband to an amazing wife who ran with courage and pride. You are my champ"

Liz Yelling has achieved so much in the sport but the admiration of a loved one is always going to be the highest accolade.

Below is the Q&A interview with Liz Yelling (This was completed before the London Marathon. Apologies for the delay in posting this page)

Name:  Elizabeth Yelling

Age: 37

Occupation: Marathon runner and coach

Favourite Events: Marathon and Cross Country

How did you first become in interested in athletics? 

My first memories of running was being taken to watch my mum run in road races, we would shout her on from the road side and race around to meet her at different points.  She ran to keep fit and when I was 9 I asked her if I could go on a run with her.  Several runs later I think she realised this was not a one off and then took me to the local Athletics Club at Bedford where I met my coaches Alex and Rosemary Stanton, and where I could train with other girls my own age.

What is your best performance to date? 

To me my ‘best’ performance is not my fastest, and it would have to be the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006 in the marathon, as it came a year after have the previous summer off with over training fatigue and doubt as to whether I could actually make it back as a top class runner again.

What is your most important training session? 

Without doubt for the marathon it is the long run, and this will vary in focus from week to week, I tend to vary pace, distance and terrain to get the most from this session and to prepare myself for the demands of running a fast marathon.

What is the most impressive/craziest training session you have ever known somebody complete?

I think it would have to be some of the legends from the past where I have heard of such sessions like 40 x 400m on the track. Although I forget who this was.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

I have just one goal to run a fast marathon and qualify for the Olympic marathon at VLM.  Beyond that I cannot plan as it really depends how that race goes, it is the pivot of the rest of the year

What is the most memorable athletics event you have ever watched? 

The most memorable was when I watched my sister in law Hayley Yelling run her 10k PB on the track at Watford, she was going for an Olympic Qualifying time in 2008 and missed the 31.45 time by 0.01 of a second.   I have never been so gutted for anyone and I am sure it is something that gets under your skin for life. Athletics is like that, it has such clear defining moments, you either make it or you don’t.

Which athlete do you most admire? 

There are many for different reasons, but Paula Radcliffe has to be the most amazing athlete of my time. Her performances are clear to all, but behind the scenes she is meticulous and so devoted to performing and pushing boundaries. I don’t know anyone with a work ethic like her…she is extreme.  She is a one off and her performances are a reflection of this.

Where is your favourite venue that you have competed at? 

Melbourne MCG – the finish of the 2006 Commonwealth marathon, because the atmosphere of 80,000 people cheering is something I will never forget.

What is your favourite:

Book: I am not a prolific reader, but I must admit I love any book by Jane Green, these are just trashy novels that are easy to read.  I am currently reading Chrissie Wellingtons Autobiography and it is really well written and very open and honest.

Film:  The woman in Red.  (Sad but true!)

TV Show:  The renovation man.

If your next race had to be in fancy dress what outfit would you choose? 

If I were going to be in fancy dress for a marathon I would want to do a good job and be unrecognisable, so something from Sesame Street like Elmo.

Find out more about Liz

Liz Yelling's website can be found here:

You can follow Liz Yelling on Twitter here:!/girlwhatruns


Feeling inspired and want to train for a running event?

View our free training plans on runningtriathlonswimming and cycling for beginners, intermediate and experienced triathletes.

Free training log

Simply choose a training plan that suits your abilities, select a start date and we'll automatically create a training calendar for you to follow.

Looking for a running event to enter?

View all ATW races on our event listing page

Liked this article?

To receive more articles like this one plus race events and news:

Sign up to our email newsletter

If you enjoyed this page then please share it using the media buttons below:



Posted Date: 23rd Apr 2012