North East Connected

“Dig deep and discover how strong you are” sprinter tells children

ONE of the fastest men on Earth has been sharing his golden career moments with children as he inspires them to speed ahead with their lives.

Stockton sprinter Richard Kilty urged Year 5 pupils at Springfield Academy, Darlington, to ‘learn how to lose, dig deep and discover how strong your character is’ if they wanted to be the best.

The 29-year-old, a world class 60m, 100m and 200m runner, who can reach speeds of around 26mph, told pupils at the Education Village, Darlington, that he’d been their age when he had first started competing.

“I was born fast,” he said. “I have 12 brothers and sisters and I was always the fastest in the family. I moved primary school from Stockton to Pentland Primary School, Billingham. I was the new kid with no friends, but as soon as I won sports day, everyone was really friendly.

“My teacher inspired me and took me to a club and I won the county championships in an Olympic year.”

He won competitions at a variety of levels and at 22 became a professional athlete now earning six figures sums with his running and calling friends the likes of Usain Bolt and Mo Farah.

“When I have losses I use them to learn,” he told them. “I work harder, listen to my coaches, study technique, eat the right food and get plenty of sleep.”

A world champion at 60m and silver medallist behind Bolt, the ‘Teesside Tornado’ is now part of the Team GB relay team which is dominating top flight competitions around the globe.

After watching several videos of his races, pupils asked a host of questions before posing for pictures with the athlete.

Principal Richard Gartland said he was thrilled such a top athlete had come into school to inspire children.

He said: “The vital message he successfully got over was that being competitive and having aspirations is great but no-one wins all the time and that it is equally important to be able to channel failure and disappointment positively. Learn from any mistakes, work hard and the rewards are there to be enjoyed.”

Mr Kilty encouraged pupils to take part in the Great North City Games, being organised by Stockton Borough Council, in the town on September 7.

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