Desiree Henry: 'Have fun with running, because even if you're going through hard times you can come out smiling'

Hi, Desiree! Congratulations on the brilliant relay gold from Zurich. So, tell me, where's your favourite place to run? I think if I had to choose a place it would be Lille in France: there's an amazing track there and it's where I won one of my first titles, at the World Youths, so definitely there.

So, do you remember your first race? I can't, I just remember always being so scared and nervous at the start and having to do a big prayer before every single round, so that's as close as I can get.

When someone asks you for a training tip, what do you tell them? First, I ask them why they're doing it and I just make sure they're doing it for the right reasons. The main tip would be to have fun with it, because even if you're going through hard times you can come out smiling, and that's an achievement in itself.

Do you like a running gadget? In the past, I would probably have said no, I don't like to become dependent on gadgets and stuff like that to keep me motivated and basically running fast, but I've got my Adidas Energy Boost [shoes]. For me, they're the best thing: I use them in competitions and training, and they're something I can depend on, as they're there every year and they just seem to be getting bigger and better for me. They're definitely helping my performance.

Do you ever run to music? Yes, running to music is definitely an exciting thing. It just gets me to maintain my positive attitude during training, so it allows me to have a lot more fun.

Before a race, I always think, 'Go out there and do the best you can', so at the end of the race I know that if I've done that I can keep my head up. Again, when I go back to training, I think, 'OK, let's focus on these things, but let's do it with a positive attitude', and I use it as motivation for the next race.

What's the worst thing about running? I suppose any athlete would think, when you've put in a lot of work and you don't get the end results, it's kind of hard to get yourself back up. It's important to have a strong team, so friends and family are always important when I'm at my lows.

What's the best thing? At the moment, it's the travelling aspect: this is my first year of being a senior athlete, and I've been to six countries already and it's not even the end of the year. So it has been the travelling, just seeing the world. I never thought athletics could take you there.

What's the furthest you've ever run? The furthest I have ever run is 400 metres; that was this year, when I competed in the 4 x 400 metres. I've got an American coach, and she believes all female sprinters should complete a 400. I did that and I survived, so I'm definitely moving on from that.

What do you eat on the morning of a hard session? I like to keep it quite simple but quite hands-on, so I like to make omelettes in the morning. I like to know what's going in, so I've got my eggs as protein and I'll put in some bacon and some peppers and some tomatoes. I'll keep it up throughout the whole season, long or short session, just so long as I know my body can easily digest the food.

What's your greatest running achievement? Up to now, I think my greatest running achievement is winning the World Youth Championships in France in 2011: I was 15 when I went into the championships and an unknown athlete, so to come out in the end and win and become accepted, it was pretty much a life-changing moment.

Mo Farah or Usain Bolt? I have to stick to the sprinting family, so I definitely pick Usain Bolt there. He's an amazing athlete, someone that people in any different sport can look at and be like, 'Wow, this guy is putting in the work and he's getting the results'.

And who is the greatest ever runner? In my opinion, it would probably be Allyson Felix, as she's just amazing. From her junior years, she's transformed into an amazing senior, winning the Olympic gold medal, which any athlete would dream of. It just shows that hard work and determination pay off.

Desiree Henry is wearing the new Adidas Energy Boost – a revolutionary running shoe for women that combines energy return innovation with style-led design. Available now at

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