8th February 2022

Amy Hunt back in form ahead of UK Athletics Indoor Championships

Amy Hunt (coach: Joe McDonnell; club: Charnwood) will return to the UK Athletics Indoor Championships in fine form following her recent 7.21s clocking in Manchester over 60m.

After negotiating a tricky 2021 season with injuries and balancing academic work with training, she is back in shape and racing again with a smile on her face. The 19-year-old is determined to take a low-key approach to the 2022 indoor season and says: “I just want to get confident again. Although it’d be good to defend my title at the UK Indoor Champs.”

Hunt won the 60m crown when the event was last held – in Glasgow in 2020 – with the 2022 Championships ready to unfold in Birmingham on 26-27 February.

So far she has started the year with a flurry of PBs, including 7.21 at the World Indoor Tour Silver meeting in Manchester. “Our objectives this year weren’t really time-based or outcome-based but more process-based goals,” she says. “Our whole aim for this season is to build my confidence back up and get me back into competitive races alongside really quick girls. To run fast times too is a crazy bonus.”

Last year she sustained a hamstring tear in February, and she reflects on that moment candidly, “It’s par for the course as a sprinter so we weren’t really too concerned,” she says, adding: “But then it re-tore which was more concerning. Then I had lots of inflammation in my ankle which we didn’t get diagnosed for a while and I had no option other than to have crazy injections or to rest it (she chose the latter).

“I had a lot of academic work too and I didn’t listen to my body and got into bad habits when it came to how late I’d stay up, how much caffeine I’d consume or how little food I’d consume. At the end of last season, I had loads of meetings with my nutritionist, Louise, who is amazing, I began seeing a therapist which was so much more helpful. I had problems which my period which I got sorted out. So, we had a lot of things which I have really now got on top of.

“I want to get back enjoying races, back smiling, feeling confident and not being panicky on the line or hyper-ventilating before or after a race. I want to get back to being the normal Amy.”

Last year she raced three times in the early summer period and was unable to challenge for a place on the Olympic team. “It was not right for me at that moment. My body was broken. My mental health was broken. I just needed to go back home and spend some time with my family.”

This meant she watched in frustration as contemporaries like Keely Hodgkinson (Trevor Painter; Leigh) went on to the Games and, in Hodgkinson’s case, won a silver medal. During this period Hunt went back to basics, taking a team approach to forge a new beginning she got stuck into her winter’s training in September.

“Athletics is the utmost priority this year,” she says. “It’s the No.1 and it’s my job and that’s the ultimate goal and everything I do is based around that. So it means I train in Loughborough four or five days a week and I spend half my week in Loughborough and half in Cambridge.”

She adds: “I would not be able to do this without my parents. They’ve been so amazing this year. My dad does one of the journeys between the two places and I do the other, whereas my mum’s done so much batch cooking. I have all these meals in my freezers in these different places!

“It’s a whole family operation to get me to the line and I could not be more grateful. We’ve tried to take some of the stress out of the situation for me and we’ve spread the workload around our whole team so that it’s not just me doing all the driving and all the cooking.”

Hunt, who is also part of the Nike-sponsored Futures Academy Programme, continues, “We’re still taking things bit by bit. People forget I’m still relatively new to 200m, for example. I’ve never really done that many. So, we’re building year on year.

“I’ve done a massive block of training in the gym which is helping now. It’s also been great to train with my group again – that’s been one of the best things.”

A new addition to the family in the shape of a working cocker puppy called Lando has helped her overall mood too. “He’s very energetic,” she says, “and definitely quicker than me!”

You can buy tickets for the UK Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham on 26-27 February here: