The rocketing rise of Rose Harvey is orbited by Matt Long

3rd October 2021

Romping home down the Mall in a fantastic 2:29:45 in 15th place is a Clapham Chaser who in her own words just a few years ago would have been, “a completer rather than a competer”.

Her 3:04 clocking in this very event just three years ago placed her 1421st overall- an excellent time for a club athlete but it gave no indication of what would follow.

Back in April at the Cheshire Elite Marathon her 2:30:58 clocking gave us an indication that she was ready to go sub 2:30 but the leap from recreational runner to elite athlete has been quantum. So what’s the story behind her London morning glory?….

Coach Kissi’s Group

“Its all down to my coach Phil Kissi”, Rose says with sincerity. “Phil was the person who taught me to believe in myself. He was the one telling me I could get an England vest when my ambition was to get a Surrey county vest”.

“It’s the way he blocks and structures my training which is superb. We are in daily contact”, she adds. “I guess the Cheshire marathon was a big breakthrough for me because I came away from it feeling like I’d learned a lot”.

Rose gets the benefit of training with another of Phil’s star athletes- namely Tokyo Olympic marathon representative Steph Davis and unequivocally she reports that, “It’s simply great training with her when our training cycles are in sync. We really work well together and pull each other along”.

Aerobic development

“I am a low mileage runner in the sense that I rarely run more than 70 miles per week”, she says candidly. “I just don’t have the miles in my background to run more than this and feel like it’s benefitting me. When I started with Phil a few years ago you have to remember I was only running about 40 miles per week and I’ve built slowly from that”, she says.

“I come from a triathlon background so supplement my running with swimming and cycling”, she adds with a nod to the benefits of building aerobic endurance through non weight bearing activity. (Editor’s note Harvey finished 2nd at Cascais 70.3 at the weekend whilst on holiday).

“On a risk-reward basis I don’t’ want to up my running milage because I can get on the cross trainer and it doesn’t have the same impact on my legs in terms of loading. I find this and the swimming and cycling work slightly different muscles so my legs are kept fresher and I can avoid just plodding another 30 miles a week or so”.

So what’s special about the number 70 in terms of miles I ask? She responds that, “Phil and I have played around with my mileage and it just feels like my sweet spot”. I reflect that this is very much an intuitive sense which Rose gets in terms of what would be termed ‘guided discovery’ about what works for her and what doesn’t’.

The aerobic development of Rose is further developed through a commitment to tempo running which is basically the pace at which one can sustain for one hour of running- for instance, 3 x 5k off a float recovery (faster than a jog) is a typical session for her.

Half as a bridging distance

Back on 29th August, Rose made her debut for England finishing a phenomenal 3rd in the Antrim Half Marathon in 70:28. Once again this was a huge PB compared to her previous best outing of 75:03 achieved at Dorney Lake in October 2020.

“It was the most surreal of weekends to make my debut and thanks to Tom Craggs”, she says with a laugh. “I was stood there on the podium with the new world record holder from Ethiopia- Yalemzerf Yehualaw and then back a work with my law firm on Monday morning”.

So what did she learn from Antrim? “I was delighted that I ran a negative split which showed me how strong I was and it gave me confidence ahead of the London marathon”. (Editor’s note – Antrim Coast Half’s announcement of the 2021 course being 54m short came after this interview was conducted and should take no shine off a phenomenal performance)

Photo: Tom Craggs

Work-sport balance

With a high pressure job Rose is delighted that the legal firm that she works for have supported her to go part time so she can give her running a fair crack of the proverbial whip.

She conveys that, “Going part time has made a huge difference to me. I really enjoy my job but marathon training is so demanding not just in terms of time but in terms of the need for appropriate recovery.

At present I am able to get the right balance between my work and my sport. At the end of the day, running is a hobby and you’ve got to love it. As Phil tells me if you are enjoying it, the times will come eventually”.

Future prospects

So what are Rose’s aims for the future? After a pause for reflection she asserts that, “We’ve got three major championships next year with the Worlds, the Europeans and the Commonwealths, so a vest at one of those would be a dream come true.

To be honest I am enjoying the journey and seeing where it takes me. I definitely think I have more to achieve over the half marathon distance and I haven’t done much on the track since my school days with Worcester AC so I’d like to try a track race maybe!”.

With that this amiable and intelligent young lady disappears to pull on her shoes and dream about next year. We too look forward to journeying with her.

Questions for Self Reflection

1. How much of my aerobic development needs to be running related activity on the one hand or non-running related activity on the other?
2. What use am I making of race distances which can act as a bridge to the event which I wish to specialise in?
3. Why is it important I find the right balance between my work commitments and running activities so I can maximise my potential?

Matt Long is an England Team Manager and Coach and welcomes contact for coaching support through