Podcast: No easy catch – 3x Commonwealth gold winner – runner Kirsty Wade

Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, Zola Budd, are all household names from the 80s, but we reckon Olympian Kirsty Wade (née McDermott) is right up there among them. She is one of the finest middle-distance runners the UK has ever produced and we were delighted to welcome her and Tony, her husband and former coach, to the studio. Kirsty may underplay her achievements, (which are too long to list here), but they include triple Commonwealth gold wins at 800m & 1500m and breaking records, some of which still stand 37 years later!

In fact, from the moment the pair laugh about meeting over poetry lectures and Tony recalls their first-ever run together with a certain hint of rivalry, we knew we were in for a treat and it’s an episode packed with insight and humour.  Kirsty chats about how she managed to achieve all she did in the decades before lottery funding and you will be fascinated to hear the pair’s take on competing in the era of widespread drug abuse in athletics. Incredibly Kirsty managed to achieve her wins while on a  highly restricted diet (encouraged back then) that sports nutritionists will shudder at today.

Kirsty and Tony training on Lewis for one of Tony’s fantastic charity runs

Today the couple and their family live on the Hebridean island of Lewis which is where Prof Mackay first met them, little realising he was in the company of athletic royalty. Both are still involved in sports and running although in very different capacities these days and offer tips about keeping fit and active as middle age beckons.

Kirsty suffered very little injury throughout her career and Tony only needed a knee fixed after an altercation with some wellies, But this brilliant episode is not so much about injury & recovery but recalling a remarkable career in an incredible era for athletics. 

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