Profile by Scott Mills
It is not often that Battersea Park is graced by anything other than blustery winds and the odd shower whilst athletes compete at the park’s Millennium Arena. But when Andy Fyfe made his debut at Belgrave’s home fixture in the Southern Athletics League, the Scot could’ve been forgiven for thinking he was in Iten, Kenya.
When Andy toed the line to race in the 1500m, he was met by 30 degree heat with minimal to no wind and the odd teammate complaining that it was too hot. However, what was to follow was the birth of what Charlie Dickinson’s training group now calls ‘the last lap burn-up’.
After an extremely conservative first 800m, the Dunfermline Athletic fan had enough and produced a stunning kick to take the win in 04:14 and leave the chasing pack far behind in his wake.
Not only did Andy help Belgrave take the team win that day, the performance also happened to be one of his favourites.
“I wouldn’t say I have one particular moment that is a highlight [of my career] yet as I haven’t been racing long, but if I had to pick it has to be my first race for Belgrave at the SAL meet at Battersea,” Andy recalls. “It was an extremely hot day and I didn’t really know how to race a 1500m so I just sat at the front of the pack as we all jogged round at a leisurely pace. I love a full-out sprint on the track or a burn-up, as some know it, so it was a great way to start my Belgrave career and made me realise that the 1500m was the event for me.”
Before donning the claret and gold, the avid disciple of Eliud Kipchoge had only previously ran a handful of cross-country and road races which for him weren’t as enjoyable as they are now. Although he did contribute to a solid winter season for the Bels as part of the bronze medal relay team in Wormwood Scrubs, the Reigate Priory Relays contingent and most of the Surrey XC League squads, Andy has a mixed history with the event.
“I would split my running career so far into two parts as I started running when I was at school,” Andy recalls. “We were asked to run around a field to decide who would run in the local cross-country race and from that I got picked and then got chosen to run at county level. But at the time I didn’t train for it or particularly enjoy it and it wasn’t until I joined Belgrave in June 2017 that I really started my track career and reignited my love for the sport.”
Since then, the Scot has been a pivotal member of the team’s athletic and social undertakings. To cap off a memorable debut season, Andy was given the prestigious ‘Emerging Talent’ award at the end of season celebrations which he was extremely grateful for.
“It was completely unexpected and gratifying to receive the award. It gave me a lot of encouragement moving into the 2018 track season,” Andy grins. “I also think it’s a real testament to my teammates who push me in every training session and to Charlie Dickinson for the help he’s given me since I’ve joined. He makes the training an enjoyable but painful experience!”
Don’t let the accolades fool you, Andy is not resting on his laurels as he prepares for the 2018 season. Agonisingly missing out on a sub-4 minute 1500m in 2017, the man nicknamed ‘Kipfyfe’ by his peers is more determined than ever to break that barrier this year.
“The main aim this season is to run a sub 3:55 in the 1500m in order to get the qualifying time to run in the BMC races,” Andy explains. “Then outside of that I’d just like to lower my times in general from the 800m right through to the 5,000m and in the future I’d love to run a sub 4 minute mile, but that’s a few years down the line yet!”.
We have no doubt this is well within his grasp and have already booked our front-row seats to the burn-up recital that the coming months are sure to deliver.