- Category: Track & Field
How did you become involved in your sport and what events do you compete in?
When I was 5yrs old my parents took me to Corroboree Little Athletics Club in Canberra and I enjoyed all of the events so much that I stayed at the club for 10yrs! Throughout Little Athletics I competed in all of the events and I was actually not bad at Discus and the 1500m walk! But as I got older and taller it was the hurdle and jumping events I favoured. Now I compete in the 400 Hurdles and 4x400m relay.
Who is your sporting hero?
I don't have a specific sporting hero but I really admire anyone who has faced adversity and overcome it. I think that people are inspiring if they are 100% dedicated to something they are passionate about and give their absolute best in achieving their dreams.
Age you started in your sport?
I started Little Athletics when I was 5yrs old and started 'senior' athletics when I was 14yrs old.
Height, weight, age?
179cm, 66kg, 23yrs old (3/8/1988)
Bachelor of Science in Psychology (major in Sports Science) from the University of Canberra.
First Aid Certificate
Level 3 Event Group Coaching - Hurdles & Jumps
What motivates you to continue in your sport?
I get a lot of personal satisfaction from setting myself goals and achieving them. When you work so hard for so long, it is all worth it when you realise your dreams. I love athletics, I love going to training and although the sessions are always hard, I know that when I run a PB or make an Australian Team, it is all worth it. I am motivated by being the absolute best I can be in everything I do, which of course includes my athletics.
What motivated you to start your sport?
My parents (Neil and Kerry) have always been so amazingly supportive, so when they suggested I try Little Athletics I didn't hesitate. I was very lucky growing up, I was giving the opportunity to try any sport I wanted to, which I did. Tennis, Soccer, Netball, Basketball, Hockey are just a few sports I tried but Athletics was the sport I constantly did. Initially I think my motivation to stay in athletics was driven by the friendships I formed at my club and the fun I had each week competing in different events. Once I got older (14) and started to get coaching from Matt Beckenham I took my athletics more seriously and decided that was the only sport for me.
What is your current business/job?
Apart from training hard for my athletics, I work at Miles Franklin Out of School Hours Care, which is looking after primary school-aged children before and after their school hours. This is a casual job which fits very well around my training. I also coach hurdles and jumps twice a week, for some junior athletes in Canberra, as part of the MattyBDEPT called MattyB's FIT4FUN.
Who do you race for club/state and what is your competitive history?
In Canberra I compete for North Canberra/Gungahlin Athletics Club and nationally I represent the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS)
400m Hurdles - 2005 (1st-58.59), 2006 (2nd), 2007 (1st), 2008 (1st), 2009 (2nd), 2010 (1st-55.86), 2011 (1st)
Long Jump - 2007 (2nd-6.39)
2005 World Youth Championships - 400H (2nd-58.30), Long Jump (10th-5.98)
2006 Commonwealth Games - 400H (9th-57.77)
2006 World Junior Championships - 400H (12th-58.05)
2006 World Cup - 400H (9th-58.22)
2007 World University Games - Long Jump (6th-6.40), 400H (Ht 58.72)
2010 Continental Cup - 400H (5th-55.30)
2010 Commonwealth Games - 400H (4th-56.31), 4x400 relay (5th)
2011 World Championships - 400H (4th Ht-55.78, 7th SF/20th overall-56.66)
People that have inspired you both in sport and life?
My parents are very inspirational; they are amazingly supportive and always encourage me in my athletics and life as well. They are very selfless and they really enjoy travelling the world and watching me compete. My coach Matt Beckenham continues to be an inspirational person in my life, not only as my coach but as an elite athlete
Great experiences that have happened in your life?
In 2006 I made my first senior Australian athletics team for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. I was only 17 at the time and it was an amazing experience to mingle with the senior athletes, stay in a 'village' atmosphere and see athletes from many countries around the world. Running at the MCG in front of 50 000 people was something I will never forget! In 2011 I competed at my first World Championships, in Daegu, South Korea where I came 4th in my 400H heat to advance to the semi finals. It was really exciting for me to have the opportunity to run twice at a major event like World Champs and I loved every minute of it!
Your interests and hobbies?
In my spare time I like to relax and unwind from my athletics, usually by reading books or watching movies. I also enjoy spending time with my friends and family. And a bit of retail therapy every now and again is enjoyable too!
One tip or quote that continues to inspire you?
Love life - make the most of your opportunities, you only live once so make the most of it!
Family Background(where did you grow up) and Current Family
I have always lived in Canberra and grown up here with my younger brother Steven (21) and my parents Neil and Kerry. I attended Kaleen Primary School, Lyneham High School and Daramalan College. I went straight from college to study at the University of Canberra, where I graduated in Sept 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.
What is your happiest memory?
I have too many happy memories to pin-point just one but usually they involve athletics or my family!
Who did you idolize growing up?
My parents have always been great role models for me as I've grown up. They are always there for support, encouragement, advice and love and they are the foundation of my support network that helps me succeed in anything I do.
Were you always one of the better athletes growing up?
I was not one of the better athletes growing up, I was always the gangly skinny kid who could do the events but not that well. Throughout Little Athletics I was certainly not one of the fast kids, I was ok at discus and high jump. It wasn't until I started thinking about athletics more seriously and getting a coach in Matt Beckenham that I started to improve and find my event.
What is one thing you would share with the children wanting to follow in your footsteps?
I would encourage children to try every sport that they can and just enjoy it as much as possible. Athletics is not for everyone, but there is something that each child can excel in, so find out what your passion is and go for it! Most of all, have FUN! I know that as soon as I stop loving my athletics, I'll retire. You do what you do because you love it, don't do it because someone tells you to or just because your friends are.
How has being involved/playing your sport changed your life?
Athletics has allowed me to travel the world to countries I may never have otherwise gone to. It has helped me to meet some amazing athletes and it has provided me with an avenue to express my passion and dedication to something. The motivation and commitment required to compete in athletics at an elite level are attributes I have carried over into all facets of life and I think that overall, it has made me a better person.
Who has been your biggest supporter?
My family are by far my biggest supporters. My grandparents are always scanning the newspapers for articles and pictures of me!
Who has been your best coach?
Matt Beckenham has been the only coach I've had, a fabulous partnership that has developed since we first started in Dec 2002. Matt has a lot of attributes that make him an amazingly coach; he gets to know his athletes and what makes them compete/train to their best ability, he trains us in a way that ensure longevity in the sport, he in innovative and thinks outside the square in terms of new drills and effective ways to train. Matt has a relaxed but professional demeanor, which creates an enjoyable atmosphere to train in. He is always supportive and even when you've had a bad race, he knows how to rationalise things and put it in perspective.I really can't say enough good things about how great Matt is!
Favourite Foods/Diet you follow?
My favourite foods are chocolate and mango. I do not follow a specific diet, I think everything in moderation is important, however I do know that healthy eating is the best way to get your body into shape and to give it the best energy for training.
Your typical training split and favourite thing to train?
Monday - Weights (AM), Hurdles technical (PM)
Tuesday - Track (AM) Speed Endurance/Lactic Session
Wednesday - Weights (AM)
Thursday - Track (AM) Big Hurdles session
Friday - Rest/Travel
Saturday - Compete
Sunday - Rest
My favourite training sessions are hurdles sessions. A key session for Matt and I would be Start-4H, 4H-8H, 8H-Finish with 60sec break between each rep. We then add the total time up to get a '400H time' which is about 3-4sec faster than the actual shape I am in.
Worst injury you have suffered?
I tore my left hamstring badly in 2008 and was out of training for 6wks, then I could only just start jogging after that. It was a tedious time, doing the same rehab exercises every day but my hamstring healed fully and has not been a problem since.
What is the ultimate prize in your sport?
Olympic Gold is the ultimate prize in athletics
What do you find to be the toughest aspect of your sport?
I think that the toughest part of being an elite athlete is trying to get people to understand just how much training is required to reach the top and how dedicated you actually are to something.
What is your favourite movie?
What one lesson did you take from your parents?
Whatever you do, enjoy it. You only get one life and you have to make the most of it.
How do you deal with temptation?
I remind myself of what my goals are and that sacrifices are temporary in the scheme of things.
What is your favourite music/band/song?
I enjoy listening to a variety of music - pop/hot 30 kind of music, house and tech too. Bicipital Groove is a great DJ :)
What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is dying - I love life so much and I just cant bare the thought of not being here with my family and friends.
Do you believe "never giving up" is the difference between making it and not making it in any sport?
I believe 'never giving up' is just once part of making it or not making it in sport. There are a lot of other things such as natural talent, training programs, coaching, diet, psychology, physical attributes, education, motivation, dedication and passion that can also contribute to an athlete making it or not. I don't think you can pin-point just once thing that will make people successful or not, it is a combination of many different things.
Have you ever failed at anything? If yes how did you overcome this?
Failure is a strong word and open to interpretation. I don't look at things as being a 'failure' I'd rather think of something not going right and trying to find the positives in it so it can be improved next time. I don't always run the way I would like and I always expect a lot of myself which can sometimes be a bad thing, but rather than automatically revert to the negative things, I try and be rational and look at what I did badly but also what I was happy with. It is important to see positives in what you do, but to also identify things that can be improved.
What inspired you to succeed?
Being the absolute best I can be is a very strong motivator to succeed. I am inspired by a lot of things but I hope that in my journey I can inspire people somehow too. My inspiration to succeed has always come from within and because I expect a lot from myself, I am constantly driven to do my best.
What did you want to be as a kid growing up?
I actually remember wanting to be a teacher when I 'grew up'! It wasn't until I was 16 that I realised I wanted to be an Olympian. Outside of athletics I still haven't found what I want to be when I 'grow up' but hopefully now that I have a University degree, that will open some doors in the future when I do retire from athletics.
Your future goals in your sports, and goals when you finish your sport?
In an ideal world I would like to...2012 & 2016 Olympic Games - 400H final & 400H medal
2013 & 2015 World Championships - 400H final & 400H medal
2014 Commonwealth Games - Win GOLD 400H and 4x400 relay
When I finish my athletics career I would like to settle down and start a family. I would also like to remain involved in athletics somehow.
What is one item you cannot live without?
My spikes! I'm sure there are a lot of things, like my car and my phone, my family and boyfriend! My athletics :)
People you would like to thank?(Sponsors, Coaches, Family or Friends)
I would like to thank my family and friends for their never ending support and love, in particular my parents Neil and Kerry, my brother Steven and my boyfriend Heath. My wonderful coach Matt Beckenham; thank you for being a source of encouragement, wisdom and athletic enjoyment. I would like to thank the Australian Institute of Sport and the Sports Commission for their support; I have only been on scholarship at the AIS for 12mths and the resources and facilities that are available to me are invaluable. Athletics Australia are always helpful and supportive, so thank you. Thank you to Mizuno for being my footwear and apparel sponsor for the last 5yrs. And a big thank you to all of the people out there who watch me race and post comments on my website www.laurenboden.com it means a lot to have so many people sharing the journey with me! :)
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