Paula Radcliffe talks Elite Sport Career Transition: Episode 1

The first instalment from the interview series with Paula Radcliffe, who takes us through her career, her motivations and her story of transition. An inspiring woman in so many ways and we were thrilled to have had the opportunity to speak to her to raise the profile of this important topic in elite sport.

We are on the brink of a new era, an era whereby athletes are considering and preparing for their transition out of elite sport with purpose and positivity. The headlines need to be dominated with success stories of how athletes are successfully transitioning out of elite sport, through an increased focus and via support from organisations like Brand You: Sport, not by headlines alluding to mental health issues and financial difficulties. At Brand You: Sport we believe that preparing early for your transition helps you stay on top of your game, whilst being smart about your future. We have developed a unique model which is aimed at supporting athletes from academy through to alumni, across the spectrum of sports, preparing them for true greatness off the field.

To raise the awareness of this important topic we’ve been speaking to Paula Radcliffe about her story, from being a Junior, World Record holder, mother and ambassador. Today we launch a series of interviews with Paula to serve as inspiration and motivation for athletes, stakeholders, organisations and sponsors, who we believe should step up and change the game for elite career transition.

Listening to Paula talk about when she decided she might make a career out of sport is enlightening. There were no big decisions, no one defining moment, it was gradual, lots of small steps, making steady progress, building her self belief moving her towards the global stage of distance running. Her drive was the love of sport and the feeling it gave her when she ran. However Paula is clear that in her eyes her sport didn’t define her, she understood that the time would come when she would have to transition out of sport, so preparation was key. Paula started laying the foundations for her transition before she made it to the podium, she had a love of languages, so harnessed this and decided to go to University whilst training and aiming for her dream. It wasn’t a back up plan it was another part of her, that made up who she is.

Every athletes journey is unique and uncertain, yet there is one consistent truth in elite sport, it will come to an end. Whether through normative or non-normative transition (planned or unplanned) or just falling out of love with the sport. Love is the key word. If you love what you are doing and you live your life with passion you will feel fulfilled. To ensure that you find true greatness post your transition, (whether from sport or a career) make sure you’ve been developing a love for more than one thing along the way. Just like many of the 40,000 athletes who will line up alongside the greats of marathon running this Sunday.

Good luck to all the runners on Sunday. Remember to love every minute.