Pathfinder International’s new health and fitness magazine supplement Military Muscle magazine caught up with British Army Biathlete and Totum Sport Ambassador, Amanda Lightfoot, to hear her story combining service duties and sports.
Give us a brief introduction and overview of your military career to date.
“I joined the army in 2004 into the Adjutant General Corps. I started off at the Army Foundation college in Harrogate where I completed a full year of basic training, then I went on to worthy down and out to my first posting which was in Hohne (Germany).
It was in my 3rd year at Hohne after completing a tour of Iraq that I got asked if I would like to try out skiing. I jumped at the chance as it was something I had never done before and only seen on TV… little did I know that it was not downhill skiing but in fact Nordic skiing, which I had never heard off.”
How did you get into sport?
“I was given the opportunity at 19 years of age to go adventure training. I went out to Norway and fell in love with this crazy sport. I went on to compete at the British Championships after just 3 months on snow and learning how to ski and I won all the novice prizes and got selected for the chance to train full time.”
Explain for those who don’t know a bit more about the biathlon…
“Biathlon consists of two sports which is cross country skiing combined with the accuracy of target shooting. There are many race formats during the winter season of various distances and all of them involve the accuracy of shooting during the race. The targetscare at 50metres. It requires a high amount of skills and determination to reach the top and race internationally for your country but it’s possible.”
How easy is it to combine sports and your military career?
“I would not have achieved what I have achieved without the military support. Biathlon is such a small sport in the UK with limited funding and the team struggles year to year to compete with the best in the world with only limited resources. The military have been great throughout my career and helped to balance both my military and athlete career. I return regularly to complete military courses to keep my military career up to date. “
What motivates you in sport and in life?
“My motivation comes from my will to succeed and goal setting, these are my major driving forces. When you have a goal of reaching an Olympic games the motivation and determination come easily.”
What goals have you set for sports?
“I set both short term and long-term goals, the short term are generally less difficult but vital to setting up the foundation for my long-term goals like qualifying for an Olympic games.”
What is next on the horizon sports wise for you? (COVID permitting)
“Next up for myself will be getting back to normality (Covid permitting) back into full focus and out to Germany, where I have access to all the training facilities required for my sport. Due to Covid my season ended earlier than expected and I headed back to the UK for lockdown of 11 weeks, which was unexpected. I’m now looking forward to getting back in control of my training and having access to a range to re-focus my shooting.”
What advice and tips would you give people on?
a) getting into sports/biathlon.
“Check out the local clubs in the UK there are a few options out there to get into biathlon both in the north and south of England. Take a look at www.britishbiathlon.com website and you should find all the info you need.
Also enquire at your regiment as there are many regimental and Corps teams who go out on the snow each year from complete novices to more experienced skiers all with the end goal of making the British Championships.
If anyone has any questions don’t hesitate to find me on Instagram and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.” Readers can check out Amanda’s account at @amanda.lightfoot87
b) keeping on top of your game?
“Stay focused and keep your main goal to the forefront of your mind. Set up short term goals which lead to your long-term goal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.
But also have something to take your mind away from your sport from time to time… mine include crocheting, learning foreign languages and learning the piano.
Believing in yourself is the key!”