From beginner to international competitor within a year: Andy Walkden tells Alex Davis how he's managed it.Written by Alex Davis on 6th October 2015
Dean Miller Q&A
Our latest Paralympian speaks about his change of degree, the influence of his Dad on his career, and what he thought of the Futureheads latest album...
Driven, dedicated and loyal.
What course did you study at the University of Birmingham and why?
I initially enrolled in Physiotherapy in 2007, but with my first year coinciding with trying to qualify for the Beijing Paralympics, I found it difficult to juggle full time training, with a new city, new coach and a course with demanding hours.
I ended up transferring to a Sport and PE course (SPECS) at the end of the year and never looked back! The course allowed me to study something I was interested in, whilst being really flexible around training. The tutors were really understanding and gave me a dissertation extension in my final year because I was competing in Dubai.
When did you start your sport and why?
I started the sport properly as a 12 year old, having dabbled with football and a few other things. I was always destined to run as my dad was a steeplechaser and my memories growing up include travelling to the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham to watch him compete in the AAA’s every year. As I took up the sport he was the middle distance coach at my club, there wasn’t going to be another winner.
What was the last book you read?
It wasn’t the last book I read, but perhaps the most enjoyable was a novel called ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’. I’m not usually into fiction but a good friend recommended it. It follows a teenage boy going through high school as he documents his thoughts and feelings about growing up in a diary. A good read!
What was the last music single/album you bought/downloaded?
I’m always listening to a lot of different music. Yesterday I downloaded the new Futureheads album ‘RANT’ which is pretty cool as it’s all done in A Cappella - it’s very different. Worth a listen.
Who would you want to play you in a film of your life and why?
Leonardo Di Caprio is my favourite actor of all time so maybe him, although Tom Hardy is up and coming and seems an interesting character, so perhaps Hardy.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life?
My parents, especially my dad as without him I wouldn’t be running.
If you could play any other sport what would it be?
What is your current training schedule like?
I train every day, accumulating around 60 miles a week at present. On top of this I cross train in the form of aqua jogging where possible, while also doing a lot of strength and conditioning in the form of weights, drills and core.
What are you most looking forward to about the London 2012 Olympics?
The opportunity to compete on the biggest stage, with all my family and friends, plus home support there. I’m sure it will be an electrifying atmosphere.