Pentathletes hitting the heights in training push
MODERN PENTATHLON Britain's top modern pentathletes have stepped up their London 2012 preparations at an altitude training camp in the French Pyrenees.
Mhairi Spence, Samantha Murray, Nick Woodbridge and Sam Weale are putting in some gruelling work at the Centre National d'Entrainement en Altitude (CNEA) at Font Romeu, which is 6,000ft above sea level.
Running sessions take place in the mountains, 1,000ft higher still, but Weale expects the hard work to reap plenty of rewards next month.
"It's a fantastic location to knuckle down," he said. "We push our bodies to the limit up here but when you get down to sea level, you feel amazing."
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Woodbridge, also looking forward to a second Olympic appearance, added: "These past two weeks have been really hard.
"The training we've been doing is really physical but it enables you to push yourself a lot harder at sea level."
First-time Olympian Murray, meanwhile, said: "When you come here, you feel heavy and as though nothing is going well but when you go home you feel incredible. That's the feeling we came here for."
Spence will go to London 2012 as world champion, following her gold medal in Rome in May, and says she has enjoyed the training camp.
"It's quite nice to shut ourselves off and really focus on the training aspect of things," she said. "I'm making every day and every session count in the hope of producing a special performance.
"We're really blessed to have the opportunity to compete at a home Olympics, and I'm ridiculously excited."
The GB team – who fly back to England this week to get kitted out for the Games – have their regular training base at the University of Bath.
Five athletes are currently representing Britain at the Modern Pentathlon European Championships in Bulgaria.
Heather Fell, Freyja Prentice and Katy Burke, who all achieved the Olympic qualification standard but missed out on London 2012 places, are joined by Kate French in the women's competition. Rob Flack is the sole male entrant.