Some of the speakers at TEDxExeter 2016 very kindly gave more of their time during their visits to Exeter. Anna Frost called in at a number of schools, the City Council, and went for a short (for her) outing with some local runners. Her whistle-stop tour was arranged by Tobit Emmens, member of the TEDxExeter production team, and speaker at TEDxExeter 2013. He has written a guest blog for us.
The children, all 400 of them, as well as the teachers, drew a collective breath when Anna Frost told them how long it took to run the Hardrock100, one of the hardest ultra marathons in the world. 27 hours, two sun rises and lots and lots of food. Anna, who many in the sport know as Frosty, was at St Michael’s Primary Academy, Heavitree, to talk to the children about being curious (what was over the next mountain?), adventurous and brave.
The children were enthralled, amazed and inspired. One pupil said to me: “it was so inspiring to meet a real life superhero”. After assembly, Frosty led an activity session for members of the school running club, with relay races, wheelbarrow races and a lesson on how to cure a stitch. Iain Randall, deputy head of St Michael’s, was delighted that Frosty was able to visit: “we often talk to the children about people who do amazing things and how they can act as role models, but to have one visit and work with the children was brilliant”.
After St Michael’s, Frosty visited St Luke’s Science and Sports College. There she met more primary school children from across the city on a sports Gifted and Talented programme. The children had been learning about pacing, and endurance. They were delighted to meet and listen to Frosty, who gave a short talk on how she started running, the ups and downs and the adventures she has had. This was followed by a Q&A session, and then it was outside for an activity session: a warm up and ‘long run’ around the field to put some learning into action.
Matt Upston, the College Sports Coordinator said: “having athlete role models come in and talk to the Gifted and Talented students can really inspire students to greatness. Frosty was fantastic working with the students and gave them a real insight on what it was like to be a professional athlete and the highlights and lowlights of a career on the road. Anna’s talk was engaging and inspirational to both the students and staff!”
In the afternoon, it was the turn of grown ups! A small group of local runners met at the Four Firs carpark, for a 15 mile run on Woodbury Common. For the local runners who took part, it was fantastic opportunity to run and quiz Frosty on everything from what she eats, how she trains, how she prepares for an ultra marathon, what it’s like to be a professional athlete, why she doesn’t use GPS activity tracking, the role social media has in professional sport, and what she plans on doing next.
Anna also met with representatives of Exeter City Council’s rugby world cup legacy team. Frosty gave some valuable insights on some of the challenges of bringing professional athletes into mentoring programmes.