Women’s Sport Week – Charlotte Gilmartin
Charlotte Gilmartin is a short track speed skater who began competing for Team GB since the age of fifteen. Already a World Cup and European champion, she’s hoping to bring back a medal at the next Winter Olympic Games in South Korea in 2018
Charlotte trains full time at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham. The city was named as the official VisitEngland Home of Sport back in 2015 and has produced a glittering history of ice-skating stars including the Nottingham Panthers Ice Hockey Team and the nation’s favourite figure skating team, Torvill and Dean.
For #WomensSportWeek, Charlotte is sharing her journey into skating and how she became captain of an all-female squad.
I began skating seriously aged 12 after being spotted racing by my friends brother at my friend Sam’s birthday party. I have been fiercely competitive for as long as I can remember; turning everything into a race or game. At 15, I joined the national team, and after a lot of hard work and training I was honoured to compete for Great Britain at the highest level.
Aged 23 I competed in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. It was an amazing experience being part of Team GB, I was 16th in my event and learnt a lot about performing at that level under the media spotlight.
Earlier this year I became the European 3000m champion and finished second overall behind my team mate Elise Christie. Elise is an incredible athlete and so it’s great to have her as a team mate, friend, as well as fellow competitor.
We have a series of six World Cup (WC) events every year over the winter months and travel all over the world, our first one this season is in November in Canada. There is also an annual World Championships in March.
I compete in all distances 500m, 1000m and 1500m; racing around a 111m ice track on 17 inch fine blades, reaching speeds of 35 mph. My preference is the 500m – it’s thrilling at high speeds with smaller margins for error.
I am really happy to support Women’s Sport Week. I hope to be able to inspire girls to try sport whether it’s on the ice or not. This season is the first in many years that we are sending a full female squad of 6 to the World Cups which shows how much we are progressing. I am so excited to get to compete as part of a relay team and highly honoured to be the female captain for the upcoming season. Teamwork is so important, so we work on that a lot.
I got into the sport by chance, but there are many opportunities now to get involved, the Need4Speed campaign was launched recently to find the next generation of talent.
I love racing and after a gruelling summer of training I’m looking forward to getting back into competition season. I am incredibly passionate about what I do; sport has to be like an obsession at this level to thrive. The next Winter Olympic Games is in Pyeong Chang, South Korea 2018 and my goal is to win a medal. It’s been so inspiring watching Team GB at the Olympics in Rio.
During a hard volume phase, my daily regime might look a little like this:
6am – Wake up
6.40am – Cycle 3 miles to training
7am – Brief for the session ahead
7.15am – Warm up (40 min)
8.15am – On the ice, completing around 100 laps
10.20am – Cool down
10.40am – Intense abs session
11.15am – Cycle home
12pm – Nap
1pm – Lunch
2.45pm – Cycle back to the rink
3pm – Brief
3.15pm – Warm up
4pm – Back on the ice for speed 6x 2 laps then 4x half lap standing start.
6pm- Stair session (sprinting up and down the stadium stairs)
6.30pm – Cycle home
Then home to refuel and hydrate as much as possible before it starts over again with tired legs. 5-6 days a week. Sessions mix also with weights, running, cycling, imitations and jumps.
In my spare time I love to exercise along with my dog. She is the cutest Schnauzer called Daphne, we go for long walks or I’ll be on my scooter – Daphne loves to run alongside my Swifty Scooter or pull me along for the journey. When I can, I go home to see my family and friends, watch movies and rest up my legs!
If you’re feeling inspired, you can follow Charlotte on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or get out on the ice yourself at The National Ice Centre.
Image credit: Swifty Scooters