Two top athletes from East Lancashire have bared their bodies for a glamorous magazine photoshoot.
Clitheroe’s Samantha Murray, Olympic pentathlon silver medallist, and Burnley’s Sophie Hitchon, the British hammer record holder, stripped off for the Women’s Health “Naked Issue” and spoke about how looking after their bodies was crucial to their success.
World champion pentathlete and former Bowland High School pupil Samantha (25) said: “It would be an insult to my body to say there are parts I’m not keen on – it’s served me so well and I couldn’t have won an Olympic medal without it.
“People say pentathletes have sport’s most beautiful bodies because of their diverse training plan – I’ve got the tone of a swimmer, the leanness of a runner, strong thighs from riding and good glutes from fencing.
“I’ll always stay in good shape, but this is probably the best my body will ever look – and I couldn’t respect it more.”
Samantha, who studied A-Levels at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, added that training was a full-time job.
“I see training as my nine-to-five job – I spend mornings doing aerobic cardio, like running and swimming; after lunch, I focus on the technical activities, such as shooting or fencing.
“I try to divide my time equally between the five disciplines because I need to be a pro in every one.”
Former Wellfield Primary School and Ivy Bank High School pupil Sophie (24), currently in training for the World Athletics Championships in Beijing, was captured swinging the hammer with the London skyline in the background.
She revealed how she was proud of her large frame, and how it has played a role in her Olympic ambitions.
I won’t lie – as a woman, there are times when you look in the mirror and think, ‘I wish this was smaller, I wish that was flatter.’Sophie Hitchon
“I love my big thighs. I wouldn’t be able to pick up a hammer without them. I put blood, sweat and tears into building them up. When I was younger, I always wished I was more petite or willowy; now they’re a symbol of my success as an athlete.
“I won’t lie – as a woman, there are times when you look in the mirror and think, ‘I wish this was smaller, I wish that was flatter.’ But when you’re an athlete, you need to train for your PB, not what you look like.”
l The full interview appears in the September Naked Issue of Women’s Health, on sale now. It is also available in digital edition on Apple Newsstand.