Abbie’s ace at middle-distance running and triathlon!

Abbie finishing strong for GBAbbie Williams is earning herself a reputation as a very talented young triathlete after previously being a useful swimmer and Welsh international athlete who works very hard in cross country and middle distance running with Pembrokeshire Harriers.
At 16 years of age she shows great commitment and regularly travels long distance to events with the full support of her parents, Ruth and Steve, whom she describes as 'super-supportive - and brilliant taxi drivers'' Her younger sister Ellie (13) is also a useful swimmer and beginning to take an interest in triathlon.

Started in swimming

Abbie pushing hard on the bike stageHer development towards being a triathlete started when she was about six years old with the Pembroke & District Swimming Club, where David and Keith Thompson, plus Phil Thomas, were very supportive as she progressed to the county squads.
At the moment she is coached by Sam Jones in the Development Squad, because she is unable to commit herself to any more time because of her other sporting participation
"I really enjoy the 100 metres freestyle and I have competed in competitions - and it has been of enormous help in the swimming component of triathlon because I swim in the pool a lot but also do some open water swimming in the summer at Fishguard, Dale and Freshwater East, which sets me up for the 400-metre lake/sea swim that is part of youth triathlon."

Great start in running

Abbie's initial involvement in running came after she took part in the county sports at 12 and although she had never run before she came first - and was spotted by Pete Freeman, the industrious coach with Pembrokeshire Harriers, who immediately asked her to join his merry band.
Since then she has progressed to running in the 1,500 metres and specialises in 3,000 metres, where she is currently ranked No 1 in Wales, based on times submitted to the national data base.
Abbie also did well in cross country and after running in the county competition in Oakwood competed in the Dyfed Championships at Dynefwr Park was delighted to again finish in first place.
"I still enjoy cross country now and like to help in the county junior races at Oakwood, where I act as a 'hare' running alongside the competitors and encouraging them to keep going!"

Winning at Welsh level - and international representation

Back on the track, Abbie became Welsh champion in the schools and club competitions, both held at Leckwith Stadium in Cardiff, in front of large crowds, and is rightly proud of her medals for winning those races.
"As a result I was selected to represent Wales up in Grangemouth, Scotland, alongside Megan Bowen (Cardiff) and I was pleased to finish in fifth place against athletes from the other countries who were a year older than me, and I was delighted with a personal best time of 10 minutes 20 seconds.”
Not content with those successes, Abbie has also been a member of the Welsh cross-country team for the past four years and done well in the team of eight to take on England, Scotland and Ireland.

Cross-country honour

Abbie running on the track"This year I have not only been picked for the race, held over 4K," said Abbie, "but will captain the team, which is a huge honour for me as it is chosen by selectors, team manager and coaches - and the event is to be held in Calendar Park, in Scotland.
“I also ran for Wales in Scotland at the Celtic Cross Country against the home country, Ireland,  and Ulsterheld as part of the Edinburgh Cross Country series where Mo Farah was running in the main event. I was pleased to come sixth and be first Welsh girl home from our team of four - and when the senior race took place I was able to run in the crowd alongside Mo."

Great experiences in London

Her performances over the past four seasons has also earned Abbie a place with Wales in the London Mini Marathon held on the same day as the main London Marathon, competing against the regions of England, from the Boroughs of London and from Scotland.

"It is an amazing event because of the crowds," Abbie told us, "and my family has been there to watch me finish but there are so many there it would be impossible to spot them.
"We stay as a team in the halls of residence at the Royal Holloway College, which is packed out with so many runners - and when we have finished it is great to be allowed to watch the seniors finish as well."

Taking up triathlon

Abbie looking good on the runWith so much experience in two of the disciplines, the progression to triathlon was perhaps only natural - and when she went along for her first taste she was made really welcome by Rhys Thomas and the rest at the Pembrokeshire Triathlon Club.
"I was only 14 then and my first competition was called the ' Welsh Aquathon Championships' because it entailed a swim in the pool, followed by a run, and I was pleasantly surprised to win by almost a minute - and I took part in all the triathlons for the rest of the series and managed to win them all!
"I knew that cycling was my relatively novice discipline but Rhys Thomas and my dad Steve come out with me for rides of 40 to 50 kilometres."
Abbie also came fifth in the British Championships, riding her new De Rosa bike - but there was a bit of an alarm in transition because she ran straight past it and had to go back to find it!
"I came fourth this year despite being a year young in the age category and came second in the AJ Bell Youth Triathlon around the London Docklands on a nice flat course..

So what of the future for Abbie?

At the moment she wants to improve her British ranking in triathlon and to gain more Welsh vests in athletics, and is ever-ready to work hard for both, as well as taking her GCSE exams because eventually she would like to go off to university to continue her studies.

"I have been very lucky to have such great support and I would like to thank Pete Freeman and my friends at Pembrokeshire Harriers; Phil, Keith David and the rest at Pembroke & District Swimming Club; Rhys Thomas and the Pembrokeshire Triathlon Club; Rich Brady and Chris Goulden of Welsh Triathlon; Pembrokeshire Bikes (Narberth) and, of course, my great family."
What Abbie Williams doesn't mention is her major part in this success story but we can vouch for the fact that she has linked natural flair to a great deal of hard work and we at wish her continued success in her highly promising sporting future!