Cecilia was born in Italy but when she moved to the UK she found a love for obstacle course racing. She tells Sundried about training and racing in this sport.
Have you always been into sport?
As far as I remember yes! I have been competing in sports since I was 6. I did swimming for almost 10 years, 3 year of athletics where my mum was actually my coach (she was in the Italian national team for high jump) and I also did 6 years of volleyball, which I loved.
What made you decide to enter the world of OCR?
When I moved to the UK from Italy I stopped practising sports as it was difficult to find a volleyball team or find something that could motivate me to compete. I never liked going to the gym as I found the use of the machines a bit boring. In October 2017, I decided to try to do an obstacle course race with my boyfriend, and even if we did not train for it (in particular for the obstacles) we really enjoyed the race and I realised that I could do most of the obstacles. The variety of challenges in a single event and the mixture of training styles required made me sign up for further races. One race led to another and within 6 months I had qualified for and competed at the OCR World Championship.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race was in June 2018, a sprint over 5 miles with 20 obstacles. I was a bit scared as the race is well know in the UK to be really tough due to the many steep hills during the course. They call it the Death Valley. I didn't have any expectations for this race as I didn't really train for hill runs but I pushed myself hard, in particular in the sections of the race where the running part was flat and I finished first in my age group.
The result allowed me to qualify for the second time that year for the World Championship but also the European Championship the following year in June.
And your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement was when I qualified for the World Championship after only 3 months of competing in OCRs.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
Yes, unfortunately that happened last October, 2 weeks before the World Championship. The day of the race it was raining a lot and I had to run 25km plus all the obstacles.
It was really cold, my fingers couldn't bend leading to limited grip and I couldn't hold onto any obstacles. On top of that my IT band troubles from earlier in the season hit me again.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I think that setbacks can happen at any time: during a race, at work, or in your life. When that happens I always try to focus on how to finish the task at hand in a positive way.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
No matter how you feel during the race, do your best but do not push yourself over the limit – it is better to compete slower than not compete at all. Remember that for every race you learn more about your mind and body and will improve for the next one.
What are your goals for 2019?
Qualify for the World Championship again and improve my running.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I do not have one specific person that inspires me. I get inspiration from different people in the sports world; one of them is Jon Albon for his racing quality but also his modest yet strong personality.
What do you like about Sundried?
I love the fact that nowadays we can use so many different sustainable materials as fabrics and I love the fact that companies like Sundried utilise these materials for making environmental sports wear without compromising on quality and comfort. My Masters thesis was about sustainability in the fashion industry and I cannot agree more about Sundried’s philosophy!