Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Thursday, 8 December 2011

Thrilled 2012 torchbearer talks to School Reporters

During the 10-week relay, Olympic torch will be carried by 8000 torchbearers and will travel about 8000 miles around the UK
During the 10-week relay, Olympic torch will be carried by 8000 torchbearers and will travel about 8000 miles around the UK

On the day that 6,800 of the 8,000 people who will carry the Olympic Flame have been formally offered the role of 2012 Torchbearer, students from Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove have spoken to a local man who has just heard he will have the chance to be involved.

Peter Witcomb of Brighton and Hove Athletics Club and has just found out he has been chosen to carry the Olympic torch on 16 July 2012.

School Reporters Edi and Sam spoke to Pete on the telephone a few hours after he had received his offer to find out how he is reacting to the news:


Q: How does it make you feel to represent Brighton and Hove by carrying the Olympic torch?

I started off running many years ago when I was 12 years old and so I'm absolutely over the moon, I still can't believe it.

In time it will probably sink in but at the moment me and my family are over the moon.

It's great for me to represent Brighton and especially Brighton and Hove Athletics Club. Without the club I wouldn't be doing all the running that I've been doing for the past 50 years.

Q: How did you get nominated?

One of the mums whose daughter I train put me forward for the nominations process and that's how it started. I was then shortlisted with about 20 other people.

Q: Why do you think you've been chosen to be a 2012 Torchbearer?

Good question! I think one of the main reasons is because I've competed in over 1000 races for Brighton and Hove Athletics Club - I've been the veteran team manager for 22 years since I was 40.

Peter Witcomb competing as a teenager
Pete has been running since he was a teenager. He has competed in over 1000 races for Brighton and Hove Athletics Club

I also coached my son's football club and have for 10 years, I help out with a local junior school boys and girls football team two afternoons a week, and for the past two years I've also been training a senior men's team.

My role at Brighton and Hove Athletics Club all started with me putting out the cones when helping my son!

Q: What first inspired your interest in athletics and running for charities?

For one reason or another I was always late for school so I ended up running there all the time!

I got put into my first race and found I won it easily which got me into the Sussex cross country race where I placed 44th out of 250 - I was very proud when I stood up in assembly the next day.

I was always a team player and really enjoyed the social side and travelling to places like Belgium, Germany and France with our team.

Q: Did you ever think as a child that you'd be participating in such an historical and prestigious event?

Never in a million years! My PE teacher thought I had potential to become a good runner and I was always very competitive and enjoyed running and keeping fit. Roy Taylor, my club coach was a big inspiration for me and was my coach for many years.

Q: What does it mean to you personally to be doing this?

I can't believe it. I'll probably be in tears when the day comes on 16 July. It really is a dream come true for me and a great way to finish my career!



SEE ALSO
Torch Relay announcement reaction
08 Nov 11 |  School Report 2012


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