We found out more about our Patron - Donna Fraser ...
Hi Donna. We're delighted to have you as our Patron. So - the obvious first question. How did you get into running?
I started athletics at the age of eight years old at my primary school.
Is it true that you were originally a 200 metre runner?
I was indeed … I loved the 200 metres!
What made you transition to the 400 metres?
I wasn’t improving over the 200 metres and many people kept saying I should try the 400 metres, due to my long striding technique, so I gave it a go and the rest is history!
You competed at four Olympic Games; did you have a favourite?
Ooh, all of them were my favourite for different reasons: my first because I’d finally achieved my goal; the second because I made the final and ran a PB; the third because I overcame injury and made the team, and my last Games in Beijing because I felt like I’d reached the pinnacle of my career - and what a place to have that experience. All of my Olympic Games have been in great countries and I've been lucky to have been surrounded by great team mates at all of them.
What was it like to be part of the, now legendary, Women's 400 metre race at the Sydney Olympics?
I still shout at the TV when I watch that race, expecting a different result! Back then, I was absolutely gutted - but now I am proud of myself and appreciate what I achieved that year, even though I didn’t get a medal.
Was this one of the highlights of your career?
It has to be - but I've had many highlights!
Was being part of such a successful relay team (Britain's ladies 4x400 relay team claimed medals at all levels, including the 2005 World Championships) as gratifying as competing in the individual 400?
Oh yes, definitely - the girls became my little sisters and, despite whether we had achieved in the individual event or not, every time we stepped on the track as a team we knew that each and every one of us would produce the goods!
You were diagnosed with the early stages of breast cancer in 2009 and hence made a sporting comeback in 2012 to show others that you can fight back. Do you agree that sport can help people to overcome difficult situations?
Absolutely - as an athlete you have to overcome so many difficult situations, from injury to financial issues, but you have no choice but to get on with it if you want to achieve. I know that if I didn’t have the mentality of an athlete I would have struggled through that experience, so I am grateful to my coach (Ayo Falola) who toughened me up over the years!
And, finally, why would you encourage people to take up sport?
I always say that anyone of any age, gender or race can get into any sport. Fitness is important - we all need to try to stay fit and healthy - but sport also develops communication skills, discipline and the drive to achieve more in everyday life!
Wise words - thanks, Donna!