Enough is enough.

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My parents are Vicente and Diane Modahl.

My pre-rehearsed response to “Would you like to go to the Olympics?” …  Well it would be the ultimate dream. 

Athletics has been part of my life since birth. I have been on more training camps than most seasoned sportspeople.

But would being an athlete really be the ultimate dream? If so, who’s dream? Not mine, that’s for sure. As a child I was very good at telling people this. “NO! I want to be an astronaut… a taxi driver… a doctor” I would say.

Even so, over the last two years my own ambitions have become increasingly ambiguous and distorted into a false sense of me. I was living somebody else’s dream. Like a passenger in somebody else’s car, with no control of where I was going.

That doesn’t mean that I do not enjoy the sport, it is one of the most fulfilling hobbies I have ever had. I have been on some amazing journeys, learnt some fantastic things and made some wonderful friends. Through DMSF I will continue to support those who are dreaming to be the next David Rudisha. For me however, it is time for me to venture into the unknown and head towards my dreams.

I am finally back on track.

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A love letter to my favourite bakery.


As a mixed race person, I have a lot of heritage. For me, I struggle to identify as Spanish AND Norwegian AND Jamaican AND English. I can barely string a sentence together in Spanish; I have never been to Jamaica; I only spent 4 years in Norway; And I don’t really have any English blood. So where am I supposed to say I’m from?

Instead of spiralling deeper into more and more questions, I’d rather speak about something that does gives me a sense of belonging.

– Old Trafford bakery – The intimate little shop always welcomes me with familiar faces, baked goods in every available space and a door frame that gives you a little view of the room where the magic happens.

Spending a lot of time with my cousin, Malichi, the bakery was one of our go to childhood eateries.

Freshly made bun was always a sweet treat – spiced to perfection, it’s sweetness and warmth dotted with raisins still makes my mouth water to this day.

Hard-dough bread was something I had to be in the mood for. A little sweeter and chewwier than normal bread, but toasted with melted butter oozing down onto the plate, with a thin layer of jam on top and salted boiled eggs – I was in heaven.

My all time favourite is patty and cocobread. Again a sweat bread, but this time soft and warm with a slightly spicy lamb mince patty inside. Delicious. As a child I had to drown the patty in ketchup to get rid of the spicy beds, but now it is perfect as it is.

I would recommend visiting this bakery to get a taste of Jamaica, not that I really know what Jamaica tastes like!

Norway Fact/Ficton

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Norwegians are  born with skis on their feet.

FACT – well kind of… The general consensus is that skiing is a big thing. Norway’s winter Olympic results says it all. Ok, not everyone likes to ski, but most Norwegians can ski and will ski in the winter. Be it cross county or alpine.

 

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It always Snows in Norway

FICTION – Norway is often imagined to be wearing a coat of snow all year round. This isn’t the case. Norway is very stretched out. Up North expect snow to be guaranteed with long, dark winters and the northern lights dancing across the horizon to warm the heart. In the summer expect the sun to never really go down. As for southern parts, snow is hit and miss, it can come and go, but it will be there at some point. It’s also worth noting that summer in Norway is one of the most underrated experiences. Again, it’s difficult to predict how sunny and warm it will be, but Norway transforms itself to an amazing place in the summer. Swimming in the lakes and fjords; Hiking in the dramatic forests and mountains; And a myriad of other outdoor sports are to be enjoyed at this time. Not to mention the availability ‘soft is’ Norway’s equivalent to Mr Whippy nom nom nom.

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Norway is expensive.

FACT – I’d recommend taking out a loan for your trip to Norway! Everything is almost double the prices in the UK. Expect a pint of beer to cost anything from 80NOK upwards, which currently is approximately £6.21. Let’s not even begin to ponder about the prices of real ales. We had a pizza meal, in an average chain restaurant. 1 beer and two pizzas, 1 medium, 1 large 650Nok (£50.51) – Enough said. Don’t let this deter you. The beauty outweighs the price, just close your eyes whenever you have to pay for anything.

 

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Norwegian men are 6ft Vikings with blonde hair and blue eyes.

FICTION – We all have this idea of Scandinavians being incredibly beautiful and tall, with their flowing blonde hair and Viking blood. They actually look like the man in the photo above…

What did you do on your gap year?

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We’ve all laughed and joked about the stereotypical ‘gap yah’ where a young person goes travelling abroad for months to ‘find themselves’ or do voluntary work.

When people ask me what I did on my gap year, I feel that in comparison to back-packing across Thailand, my time was relatively dull. Despite this, my year in gave me the time I needed to prepare for the intensity of uni whilst enjoying a bit freedom, without responsibility.

Below are 4 of the most useful things I managed to do.

  •  Get a job.

Yes, It is quite obvious and not very exciting. I spent my year waitressing at one of the most sought after restaurants, Greens. I didn’t do a great amount of shifts, but I really enjoyed having the routine of going to work and socialising with customers. It enabled me to stay grounded and also gave me the extra funds to treat myself a little bit.

It was reassuring to know that I had a guaranteed part-time job already set out for when I started uni.

  •  Get a qualification in an area that interests you.

Having volunteered at The Diane Modahl Sports Foundation since 201o. I was fortunate enough to be given financial support towards my coaching assistant badge and I’m just finishing my athletics coach qualification. This was perhaps one of the bigger achievements during my year. This official role meant that I was able to step out of my comfort zone and coach. When you are solely a young volunteer, the challenge put on you cannot be as high, because it takes time to build up both confidence and experience.With these qualifications I have been entrusted with taking whole coaching sessions both in school and on the track, which is a major boost from anything I had done before.

If you have the opportunity I would recommend doing something that increases your skills whilst you have the time; be it anything from a touch typing course to German classes.

  •  Work experience.

This is a big one. One of my training partners said that he really struggled to find a job after uni, because not only did they want you to have a degree, but they wanted you to have experience as well. His advice – Networking is key. You’ll be surprised, you can find contacts everywhere. As you may know, I’m studying law. Whenever I tell someone the reply is often along the lines of “You’re studying law? My sister’s best friend’s uncle is a lawyer. If you ever want work experience let me know!”. Make the most of these opportunities. My most recent work experience was with King’s Chambers in the summer. I shadowed the high profile, well-respected David Casement QC. It was before I started my degree, so I didn’t do a lot, but the advice I was given was golden.

If you’re not 100% sure that you have selected the right course. Work experience will be even better. It will either leave you satisfied, or with the knowledge that you could never work in that profession.

  • Go abroad

Get out and use the time of little responsibility to appreciate the ability we have to visit different places. I frequented Italy, Norway and Spain. And worked out that I managed to be out of the country once every couple of months. There is something about returning home after being abroad that gives you a new perspective.

Being a part of the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation. Has given me numerous opportunities. One of which is to be able to go on training camp. Last year we were able to spend 3 weeks in December on Teide, the big volcano in Tenerife. It was such a peaceful experience. To be removed from the beaches and tourism at sea level was bliss. It made me really think about remembering to slow things down and appreciate the nature we have at home. I would definitely recommend travelling to a place which is different to the norm.

All of these things can be done whilst studying. My year out gave me clarity. In September I was hungry to study and ready for the mountains of books I had to read.