By Riegan Thompson

Some students find it tricky to combine their studies and social lives at the best of times, but UCFB student Jack Gladman took it one step further by incorporating a vigorous 14-month training schedule which led him to the London Stadium and representing Great Britain at the World Para Athletic Championships this summer.

Jack, who studies BA (Hons) Football Business & Media, competes as a T38* 1,500m distance runner and set off on his journey to London by appointing a personal coach in ex-Great Britain distance runner Andy Coleman. Based at Lea Valley athletics stadium, Jack made clear of his aspirations to compete at the World Championships from the start.

Speaking to UCFB after the championships, in which he came ninth in the final with a time of 4.32.73, Jack highlighted his rigorous training regime. He said: “I train seven days a week and it is a combination of long runs and technique track work. I also spent three weeks doing warm weather training in Australia in December and January. I competed in Cross Country and road races in the winter and began my outdoor track season in April.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Jack added: “I ran five or six outdoor races and at my first international IPC (International Paralympic Committee) event in Paris I managed to knock ten seconds of my previous years’ time.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jack spoke very fondly of his experience at the London Stadium and the fans who flocked to the championships, much like the Paralympics in the same stadium in 2012. He said: “I can hardly put into words what it was like to compete in the London Stadium at my home games. I don’t think I will ever experience anything like it again. The support for para-athletics in London far exceeds anything in the rest of the world.

Jack added: “I was so lucky too, I could not have picked a better day or time for my race. It was the penultimate day of the championships, it was finals night with a lot of the major players competing and my race was prime time Saturday night viewing at 8:15pm which drew in a crowd of around 35,000.”

Admitting that initially he struggled with the balance between studies and performance on the track, Jack has since found the perfect balance to achieve in both areas and has a major aim to work towards over the next year.

He said: “This year I have been more settled and with my new coach I managed to get selected for Team GB for the first time. Now, the goal for the next 12 months is to reach the European Championship in Berlin.”

*World Para Athletics classification

T38 – Athletes have clear evidence of hypertonia, ataxia and/or athetosis on physical assessment that will affect running. Co-ordination impairment is mild to moderate and can be in one to four limbs. Co-ordination and balance are typically mildly affected, and overall these athletes are able to run and jump freely.