GRACIE MARTIN was encouraged by her mum to join a climbing club when she was young and it was there that her passion and talent for the sport was sparked.
She has gone on to represent the GB junior climbing team and compete in competitions around the UK and in Europe. Her talents and placing have caught the eye of many and she’s currently working hard to break into the GB senior team.
Here Gracie talks about what motivates her in the sport and who some of her biggest inspirations and mentors have been in her climbing journey. Read on to find out more about those aspirations of hers to become a climbing great and how she intends to do it.
To find out more about Gracie visit www.graciemartin.co.uk.
When did you start climbing and who encouraged you to give the sport a go?
When I was younger my mum used to home educate my two brothers and I. When I was about ten there was a home-ed climbing group starting so we went along, I immediately loved it and things went from there.
Who were your mentors and biggest climbing inspirations at the beginning?
I became part of the Nottingham Junior Climbing Team and had some of the best times climbing with the other youngsters involved in that. It was run by Dan Bradley and he provided a lot of inspiration and motivation during the early days. I owe a lot to him.
I think the people who continue to inspire me most are those trying the hardest to push their limits. I love watching people try really hard on a boulder or in training and then succeed because of their efforts.
What were some of your earliest climbing achievements?
The first real competition I entered was the Youth Climbing Series – a national series for kids. In 2011 I won the national final for my age group and that gave me my first real taste of winning! I liked it, a lot!
Since then I have been fully involved in the competition scene for a number of years. Having mainly competed in lead climbing competitions until my mid teens I took part in many national and international youth lead events.
What did you it feel like to be picked for the GB team and what have been some of the successes you’ve had while representing your country?
I was selected for the GB Junior Climbing Team when I was around 14 years old. It felt amazing to have the opportunity to represent my country at an International level. I competed in both sport climbing and bouldering events. With my best finish being 15th at a European boulder event.
I’m aiming to get selected for the Senior GB Team this year which will then allow me to compete in Senior World Cups next year!
Where are your favourite places to climb?
My favourites that I have explored so far are:
1) Silvaretta in Austria. Its beautiful and the bouldering is flippin’ awesome! Imagine being on a mountain with a view of the Swiss alps one way, a stunning meltwater reservoir another way and then the very picturesque Austrian valleys the other.
2) The Peak District. Its where I live and even though I don’t love the grit (I’m still learning how to get on with it) then I love trying to grapple with it.
3) Fontainebleau. Every climber must visit. The climbing mecca of Europe. And the bakeries are on another level.
What are your currently training for and what are your ambitions in the sport for the year ahead and beyond?
As I mentioned earlier then I am aiming to get selected for the GB Senior Team this year and then compete in World Cups next year. I am also planning a big trip to South Africa, to climb in the Rocklands during July. While I’m out there I will also be helping to run a Womens Climbing and Yoga retreat, there will be more info coming on my website over next few weeks!