5 things you should know about British athlete Jake Wightman

·3-min read
Photo credit: DAN MULLAN
Photo credit: DAN MULLAN

Scottish 1,500m and 800m athlete Jake Wightman is fast, as shown by his current Scottish record for 1,500m, with his time of 3.29.47 set in Monaco in 2020. Since setting that benchmark, he travelled to the Tokyo Olympics last year, where he came 10th in the 1,500m.

For the 26-year-old who was born in Nottingham, his times are getting faster and faster. He has his sights set firmly on the World Athletics Championships (beginning on Friday, July 15), where he is set to race in the 1,500m in Eugene, Oregon, followed by the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where he will represent Scotland in his fourth games, followed by the European Championships in Munich.

So if you don’t know much about the runner, here are five things you should know about him:

His family has athletics in the blood

His coach is his dad Geoff, former athlete, and current commentator and stadium announcer. Geoff represented England in the marathon in the 1990 Commonwealth Games, among other achievements.

But that’s not the only running genes Jake was born with: his mum and his aunt were also Olympians. Both competed in Seoul 1988, with his mum Susan coming 12th in the marathon, and his aunt, Angela Tooby-Smith, running in the 10,000m

‘That’s the funny thing, being an Olympian isn’t really something that is a huge deal in my family,’ Wightman told the BBC. ‘But it's nice to be able to carry that on, and now we've had two generations.’

He’s wanted to be a professional athlete since he was 8

Due to his family being heavily involved in athletics, most of their holidays revolved around attending athletics events and meetings. As a result, the sport was ever-present in Wightman’s life, and so his journey towards pro athlete was set in motion from an early age.

‘From aged eight, I always said my dream job was to be a professional athlete, which I am lucky enough to be able to live out now,’ Wightman told the BBC.

He has run faster than Steve Cram, Steve Ovett and Seb Coe

His current 1,500m PB of 3:29.47 puts him second in the British all-time fastest 1,500m, ahead of big names such as Cram, Ovett and Coe, with only Mo Farah ahead of him.

At university, he lived in the ultimate athletics house

Wightman shared a house in his third year of university, on placement at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, with a selection of some of the best British athletes. His housemates included Beth Potter, Charlie Grice, Ross Murray, Adelle Tracey, Andy Vernon and Richard Goodman. ‘I was the worst one in it,’ Wightman told the Norske Podcaster. ‘They were all professional athletes, and I was still on placement.’

He said it taught him some valuable lessons though, in particular about how and why he should improve many aspects of his training, such as recovery, eating well, and getting up and doing a run early rather than lying in. ‘It taught me how I needed to be to make it beyond that stage,’ he said.

His pre-race food of choice is a little unusual

Not your standard porridge or eggs for Wightman. ‘I’m funny with what I eat on race day as I like to keep it as plain as possible,’ he told AW. ‘I eat tortilla wraps on their own, which makes me look like a bit of a weirdo.’

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