Eloise Wellings: Lessons From an Olympian

  • Mon 18th Jul 2016

Eloise Wellings
“The top 5 things I have learnt in my career”
Lessons from an Olympian


 Eloise immediately after her Zatopek win.
Image by Jon Wellings birdandbee.com.au

  1. Never give up

I first qualified for the Olympics when I was 16 years old. The Olympics were in Sydney, and I was ecstatic. My Olympic dream began as a 6 year old, so I had been dreaming of this moment for 10 years. Unfortunately, just weeks later, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture – the first of 11 that I have experienced in my career, and I was unable to compete. I was gutted. This began a long series of ups and downs for me both personally and professionally. I started going to Church and became a Christian which totally transformed my mindset, but it wasn’t the end of my challenges. I went on to be measured for two more Olympic uniforms – both Athens, and Beijing, only to miss out on both due to more injuries. Finally, in 2012, my Olympic dream was realised after 12 years of disappointment. I am so excited to be lining up again in Rio for my second Olympics.


Getty Images: Robert Prezioso. Eloise immediately after her Zatopek win.

  1. Everything happens for a reason

One of the lowest points in my career was in 2008 when I was trying desperately to make the Beijing Olympics and suffered an injury again. I was ready to quit. I told my husband that I wanted to give up and just get a day job – something more stable. Instead my coach decided to send me to a rehabilitation facility in Portland, Oregon. It was here that I met Julius Achon, a Ugandan dual Olympian, former child soldier and humanitarian. He told me that if I knew his full story, then I wouldn’t be so worried about my foot. He started to recount his journey of being captured by the Lord’s Resistance Army as a boy, forced to be a child soldier, and miraculously escaping. It was after meeting Julius that I returned home and had a new motivation to run. We began the Love Mercy Foundation and we have been funding programs in Uganda since 2010 to restore hope after the pain and suffering caused by civil war. This is my motivation for training and for my athletics career – to bring awareness to what we are achieving in Uganda – and it all came about through an injury.



Eloise with Co-Founder of The Mercy Foundation, Julius Achon.
Image by Jon Wellings birdandbee.com.au



Eloise & Julius Achon in their element!
Images by River Bennett thewolfpackmrs.com

  1. Imagine your success

Racing at a professional level is difficult. You have to balance your physical training and recovery with your mental strength to overcome the barriers and reach the goals that you have set for yourself. A lot of the battle is in your own head. To have the best mindset for hard training sessions, I visualise what I’m going to do. I clear my head of anything I can’t control and I take realities and truths from recent training sessions to give me confidence that I’m capable. Sometimes you need to be your own biggest cheer squad to convince yourself that you can do it. I have been reminding myself of this in the lead up to Rio.



Eloise in Uganda.
Images by River Bennett thewolfpackmrs.com

  1. Your career does not define you

Going to my first Olympics in London after missing out three times before totally lived up to my expectations. Walking out for the opening ceremony felt incredible. It was everything that I thought it would be, and everything I had aimed for since I was 6 years old. In the lead up to Rio I am much more relaxed. I don’t have the same fears that I used to, that I might get injured or not be able to compete. I’m much more relaxed now as I have learned that there is more to life than my career.

Becoming a mum to India, my three year old, forces me to be more flexible. Whether I win or lose, I’ll still be Indi’s mum. I’ll still have to put her to sleep, feed and clothe her. Having her in my life grounds me and puts everything else into perspective.


Eloise with daughter India. Image by Jon Wellings birdandbee.com.au

  1. Don’t take yourself or life too seriously

My modus operandi is to approach training and racing in a professional manner but still always have fun and be able to have a laugh at myself no matter what the circumstance or the event. The more relaxed I am to be light and easily humoured the better I run anyway. My running career won’t last a lifetime and I want to remember it as being an adventure and not a burden on me or the people around me.



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  • Mon 18th Jul 2016