The sprinter smashed the world T37 400m record this season and is aiming for success on the Paralympic stage next summer
Georgie Hermitage is looking to fulfil her promise. Not just in terms of what the sprinter can achieve on the track, but more to see through a vow she has made to her daughter.
The 26-year-old had walked away from the sport as a teenager but returned to running competitively after the birth of Tilly in 2012.
After racing just a few times in 2013 and with her 2014 season interrupted by injury, Hermitage has gone on to have a “whirlwind” summer which has seen her smash the world T37 400m record and then improve it further.
Clocking 62.70 in Berlin in June, the Guildford & Godalming athlete took more than two seconds off a record which had stood since the Sydney 2000 Paralympics, but she wasn’t finished there. Competing one month later in front of a passionate Anniversary Games crowd at the Olympic stadium (“the noise was incredible”), she went faster still, clocking 62.48.
“I never thought I’d run that quick, ever,” she says. “My coach thought that the world record was achievable but probably not to that amount.
“I still can’t believe that.”
Hermitage’s performances so far this year mean she goes into the IPC Athletics World Championships later this month as one of the favourites. However, she is open about the injury problems she has suffered recently and while success in Doha, where she is set to race both the 100m and 400m, would be sweet, Rio remains her main aim.
“After the Anniversary Games it was a bit of a crash down from this amazing high to this low and it has taken a good few weeks to emotionally and mentally get over that, to know that I’m going to a championships where I’m not going to be 100%,” she explains.
“I want to go into it knowing and accepting that it’s not going to be maybe the championships I wanted it to be, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to try my hardest. You never know, anything could happen.”
The Anniversary Games was the first time that Tilly had properly watched her mum race. The goal for Hermitage now is to reach Rio and get gold.
“I promised her Rio and I stupidly promised her a gold medal – who does that?!” she laughs. “So that’s obviously the big goal, the main focus.”