Category - Visual Impairment
Libby's first major medal success at only 16 years ofd when she finished second in the T12 200m at the 2006 IPC Athletics World Championships. In Beijing at the 2008 Paralympic Games. Libby raced to personal best times in both the 100m (12.51) and 200m (26.16), taking home a silver medal in the 100m her career highlight to date.
How did you get started?
Libby started competing as an under-11 at a non-disability club in Cheshire and ran without a guide. When her family moved to Scotland when she was 12 years-old and attended the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh but continued to train with a non-disability group at Edinburgh AC.
"My mum had looked into disability competitions for me when I was 11 and I joined with British Blind Sport, it was great because it gave me the chance to compete," she says, "I raced in the Junior Blind Championships and I also did cross country, it was great fun. I really enjoyed cross country. When you're young it's such fun to run in the muck, I just enjoyed running in general and taking part in all athletics, it was great!"
"The number of visually impaired athletes coming through the system might have been different if we'd had a better structure in place when I was younger like Parallel Success," admits Clegg, "I was ok, but I'm probably the only survivor of that group. I suppose I might have struggled a bit, but it made me more determined."
What Challenges have you faced?
"I don't think I face a lot of challenges, since I started running, and more recently since I moved to Loughborough (one of UKA's National Performance Centres), it's made me really confident. I think when I moved here I moved away from the disability stereotype and it really helped me."
Libby is very accepting of the condition which defines her as a T12 athlete. What's striking about her, however, is that the condition does not define her as a person, quite the opposite, in fact. "It's nice being in a non-disabled environment and it's definately helped the people around me understand me a lot more, but I'm also happy to link up with the disability athletes at squad weekends and feel part of that set up too," she says.
What do you need to succeed as an athlete?
Libby's determination is one of her greatest strengths and was a significant factor in her first major medal success, "I was only 16 and it was my first GB vest," she says, "Katrina (Katrina Hart, T37 sprinter) had gone to the Europeans the year before and I just missed out, but it made me train harder and I ended up kicking butt in the Worlds."
As with every athlete, Clegg's progression had not been achieved alone and she's been fortunate to have to suppport of her guide runner Lincoln Asquith and coach Tom Crick. "It's hard to find a guide runner that suits," she explains. "It's a definate challenge; I don't think that a former international runner would find it easy to take on, although I'd like to see them try!"
While Libby works towards the podium in the London 2012 Paralympic Games, she's also working hard on her long term career development. Having completed a course in sports massage, she hopes to get involved in the rehabilitation of injured service men and women at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham. "I want to help them get back to being physically active," she says, "that can have such a positive impact on their lives, in a similar way to the positive impact that running has had on mine."
Libby's typical training week
A tempo running session on grass plus circuits.
Warm up, drills including multiple jumps/plyometrics, short speed session then gym work (weights).
Tempo running session plus hurdle walkovers and circuits.
Warm up, drills including multiple throws (medicine balls etc), speed endurance session with multiple jumps plus gym work (weights).
Warm up, drills including multiple jumps and throws followed by a specific endurance session and weights.