From someone who had more fun swimming as a child than she did running, Bella Williams has found a love for a sport that eventually led her to leave her hometown in England and race for the University of Utah.
Both of Williams’s parents were runners growing up and they always hoped that their daughter would follow in their footsteps one day. As a child, Williams wasn’t a big fan of running. She would have much rather been in a pool swimming than on a track or trail.
Although she didn’t like running at a young age, she knew that she had the most potential in that sport. Williams was consistently getting the best times at school and was even entered into national school events where she fell in love with cross country and track and field.
“I swapped when I was about fifteen to running and my mum was very happy about that. I couldn’t have done anything without my parents,” Williams said. “They drove me all around the country for all of my races and really encouraged me to come to Utah.”
Williams was named the 2015 Lincolnshire Sport Young Sportswoman of the Year.
“It definitely meant a lot to me,” Williams said. “I went and did some international mountain running races which helped me get the award, and those races made me want to take that step further in running the next year.”
One British runner that she looked up to growing up was Laura Muir who runs the 800-meter, 1500-meter, 3000-meter and 5000-meter races for Great Britain. Williams says that the reason Muir is someone she looks up to is because nobody expected her to make the impact that she’s had so quickly. Being able to see her recent successes showcases Muir’s hard work and dedication to the sport which has solidified herself as a big role model for Williams.
Williams has run and hopes to continue to run on the Great Britain National Team. Her first time running was for the European Running Championship. She came in fifth nationally in her last year, which she was proud of. She also ran in the World Running Championships in Italy which she enjoyed as well.
“Representing Great Britain was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” Williams said.
Williams is a sophomore studying History and French and also hopes to complete a Spanish minor. She loves to travel and hopes to live abroad in other countries one day. Her family speaks different languages, which has also helped fuel her desire to study these topics.
She loves hiking and considers the mountains as one of her main reasons why she chose Utah. She also came to Utah because she loves to run with her team and she loves being able to compete in such a great team atmosphere. Williams loves all of her teammates, but two she has become close with are her roommates Cara Woolnough and Natalie Platil.
Platil said of Williams, “We’ve been friends since the beginning of our freshman year. We’ve got a lot of similarities and a lot of differences. She’s always energetic, she’s always positive and always ready to go on an adventure. She’s also very diligent with her training and with school.”
When asked what word of advice she would give to up and coming runners, Williams said, ”Be prepared for your freshman year not to go as you would expect — a lot changes in your life, but you will only become stronger. In the end, you will run faster and love everything about your life here even if it’s hard at first.”
Make sure to watch Williams and her teammates as they take to the track next weekend in the MPSF Indoor Championship in Seattle, Washington.