In this exclusive three-part Q&A, Liu Batchelor discusses the details of the her gruelling and incredible 100Sports in 100 Days Challenge, her drive and motivation, her training programme and future plans!
1. You recently came to national attention thanks to your amazing feat of tackling 100 Sports in 100 Days for Sport Relief 2016.
Any particular highlights and lowlights?
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Ohh, yeah loads – where do I start?!
In terms of the sports themselves, there were a number that instantly clicked with me, including: wakesurfing, ice hockey, kayak polo, and rock climbing. However there were also many that I’d say I certainly was no natural at, for example the martial arts and ball-hand-eye coordination based sports were more of a challenge for me.
I had phases where the varied and demanding physical requirements of certain sports (or combination of sports one day after another) left me really aching and tired, however conversely there were days where it was less demanding, as I was focussing primarily on learning basic skills rather than pushing myself to my physical limits.
I’d say the biggest ‘ups and downs’ came from the requirements ‘behind the scenes.’
As part of the challenge I’d set myself the goal of completing a video showcasing every sport I did – and at times this became very overwhelming to keep up with editing 2-3 hours everyday, alongside my everyday life!
There were also times when I’d get anxious if I had a gap in the schedule if the weather or logistical issues meant I had to reschedule a sport and keeping in touch with 100+ people, many volunteers, from different clubs was a huge challenge.
However I’d say the highlight which outweighed all the struggles was meeting so many amazing volunteers, coaches and other athletes along the way – many of whom I’m still in touch with now.
The support, enthusiasm and encouragement I received from strangers was incredible, and it was so inspiring to see how keen they were to share their knowledge and experience of their sport, and how happy they were to see me progress.
I was also very touched my members of the public letting me know how they or their children had taken up a new sport as a direct result of seeing one of my videos; this made all the hours of work worthwhile and still gives me goose bumps thinking about it now.
2. As a result you have been to 10 Downing St. to meet the Prime Minister, you’ve been interviewed live on several TV shows. This must have seemed quite surreal!
Haha, yes looking back at it now it was! But at the time I tried not to think about it too much – partly because I didn’t want to get nervous, but also because I wanted my natural enthusiasm and passion for the aims of the challenge (to help people find a sport they love – especially if they haven’t previously been into ‘mainstream’ sport and fitness) to come across in a natural way.
One of my favourite things when meeting the Prime Minister and doing press interviews was their bemused response when I told them about some of my more unusual sports such as Quidditch (yes it really exists!) and Octopush (aka. underwater hockey)!
With Quidditch for example, it may get a bit of stick due to its ‘fantasy roots’ – but it’s really a really full-on sport (a bit like a combination of Handball, Dodgeball and Rugby) and I believe as long as you are having fun and getting active it doesn’t matter what sport it is!
3. Your finale was particularly impressive. What exactly did you do?
Ahh so the final 100th sport was a Decarathon…a 10 discipline 26 mile marathon… down The Thames and through the centre of London! I started at Chiswick on a Paddleboard, then a section of Rowing (completing the famous Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race route) following by Kayaking, then Longboarding, Rollerski (like cross country skiing) then scooter.
Then it was a running section past Buckingham Palace, then horse riding, then a bike section up to The Emirates Football stadium where I finished with a 3000 steps stair run and lap of the pitch!
Why you may ask?! Well everyone kept asking what my 100th sport would be, and surely it would have to be something amazing and wacky, but I’d already done so many amazing sports, the only thing left to do was invent my own sport…and hence the Decarathon was born!
Look out for Part 2 of the article, available tomorrow here at WatchFit where Liu will be discussing here sporting background and much more!
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