- Latest News
- Contact us
- London Athletics Networks
- About us
- Disability Athletics
- Run England - London
- London Inter Club Challenge
- Got an enquiry?
- Our Partners
- London Links
- London Athletics Blog
- Run London Blog
- Chair's Blog
- QuadKids London
- Barnet Copthall Stadium
- Volunteers - London
Need for speed! - Part 2 of our ‘Faces behind the Olympic marketing campaigns’
Previously featured was Charis O’Connor (Coached by: Steve King, Club: Guildford & Godalming) who is pictured as the gymnast jumping over a BMW 1 series. Recently we caught up with Woodford Green’s Graham Hedman before he returned to training for the first time since injury in 2011.
Hedman, who is originally from a small village near Braintree in Essex, is now based in Loughborough alongside Croydon Harriers Martyn Rooney, under the watchful eye of one lap guru Nick Daikin. By day he works in schools delivering talks, offering coaching and forming part of question and answer sessions. The school day working hours allow him to train almost as a full time athlete and with a year to go until what he called his “final season”,Hedman does not want to look back in 12 months time and say “what if”!
By the age of 17, Graham was already clocking times in the low 48’s and looked to be a one lap natural. His breakthrough year came in 2002, when he was selected to represent England in the commonwealth games in Manchester, in a season that saw him clock 46.3 and in the process gaining Team England 4x400m relay selection. At that time he was holding down a full time job, raising a family and still clocking times of the low 46 seconds.
Following a topsy turvey 2003 when he had to deal with two family members passing away, a separation with his wife and the shocking death of his then coach’s son, Graham Hedman has experienced interruptions to his training with injury ever since but still managed to make international teams and represented both England and Great Britain in European, Commonwealth games and world championships in both the 400m and the 4x400m relay. Also received medals from some of those championships. International career highlights:
- World Championships 2005 Helsinki 4x400m 4th.
- European Championship 2006 Gothenburg 400m, 4x400m Silver.
- European Championships 2010 Barcelona 4x400m Silver.
- Commonwealth Games 2002 Manchester 4x400m.
- Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi 400m, 4x400m Bronze.
Q: How did you get the role as the sprinter next to the BMW car? A: “Like many athletes I saw there, I was invited to a casting by an agency. It was great to get the job as if I can get to the Olympics next year a lot of people should recognize me. “
Q: What is your athletics background and how did you get into the sport? A: “I grew up in a village near Braintree in Essex, I was running a lot at school and winning races and enjoying it when the teachers helped me to join Braintree Athletic club. They had some decent athletes and were a strong club in the early nineties. So much so I remember being the 2nd ranked in Essex and 2nd ranked in my club! In 1997 I had an opportunity to move to Woodford Green with Essex Ladies club and the lure of national competition. At the time everyone tried to advise me ageist it as on paper I was the 3rd or 4th choice 400m runner but I made the switch and very soon found myself in the ‘A’ string in the British league matches. I like to be able to run for the club at least once a year and think it’s a shame more international athletes don’t do the same.”
Q: What’s your goals and aims in 2012 and thereafter? A: “Well, 2012 will be my last season in athletics whatever happens! I have put everything into my build-up to the games and I would love to get a relay spot or maybe an individuals 400 and relay... that would be good but either way after 2012 I will look to earn money and leave athletics”.
Q: ...that leads me onto my next question; do you work at the moment? A: “Yes I currently do a bit of work for a company called ‘Athletes direct’, I go into schools and do coaching, give talks and take part in question & answer sessions. “
At that point we let Graham go as he was due to start his second session of the day - circuit training. Hedman has a personal best of 45.88 for the 400m and 21.02 in the 200m; we will be monitoring his progress over the coming months as he stakes a claim for a spot in Team GB. You can keep up to date with Graham Hedman on Twitter, follow him: Follow @londonathletics