Gareth Bale: from 4:59 for 1500m to world record football transfer!

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It is hard to have missed the name Gareth Bale in the news recently! But his name was familiar to some in athletics circles long before the will-he-won’t-he Real Madrid saga took off.
Gareth Bale was quite a runner before his football career took off, clocking some impressive times years before signing for Real Madrid for a world record fee of £84.7 million. As a football manager might say when winding down his window to discuss the latest developments with a Sky Sports News reporter, “It’s given the lad a good engin', he really covers the yards.”
The Welshman excelled at athletics as a youngster, clocking 4:59 for 1500m and 2:24.8 for 800m in a schools' athletics competition aged 12. But his involvement in athletics didn't stop there as he continued to compete in athletics up to the age of 15.
This early running developed his speed and fitness which was later transferred to the football pitch and in the 2009/2010 season when he led Spurs to UEFA Champions League qualification, data showed that Bale was running about 7.5 miles during the course of a match with about 800m at 'high intensity' - more than any other player in the league on both counts.
You may not be looking for an £80million plus transfer deal but the transferable fitness developed by jogging or running could help you improve your game at any level, so if you have a local 5-a-side football team or any other sports team, why not join or even set up a local running group, or run round a 3-2-1 route as a team? Who knows - in the future you might even end up taking the opportunity to do an event, such as your local parkrun, Bupa Great North Run or even the London Marathon!
Not into football? That’s fine – there were plenty of us heading out for runs yesterday as great a way to escape the madness of footie’s transfer deadline day. In fact, running is transferable to so many different sports and activities – Andy Murray included extensive running sessions as part of his tennis training, and his improved fitness helped him to become the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry 77 years ago.
Whether it’s playing for a local sports team, or even stretching the legs at lunch time so you can concentrate better at your desk in the afternoon, it doesn’t matter what activity, or what level you’re at, running can help you take it to the next level!
Find your local group or 3-2-1 route here. With more than 2,200 groups/routes across the country there’s likely to be something very close to you, and if not it’s easy to set up your own group. Click here for more on setting up a group.
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