4. Leaflets Distributed with TLA

Rising stars Kaitlyn and Chloe Sheppard are following in their parents' footsteps

All Areas > Sport > General

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 08:00

Kaitlyn Sheppard, number 10 Kaitlyn Sheppard, number 10

There is no shortage of ambition in the Sheppard family.

Teenage sisters Kaitlyn and Chloe are aiming high – very high – but if hard work and dedication counts for anything there is every chance that they will realise their dreams.

And those dreams are to compete in the Olympic Games, something that many young sportsmen and women aspire to but very few achieve.

What potentially sets Kaitlyn and Chloe apart – aside from their obvious talent – is that they are part of a family that knows what it takes to reach their sporting goals.

Kaitlyn, a runner, and Chloe, a rower, are following in the footsteps of their dad Kevin, a top-level sportsman who competed for Scotland in the 3,000 metres steeplechase at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, while mum Sarah is still a very decent runner with Cheltenham Harriers.

Kevin doesn’t do much running these days, he is massively into his indoor rowing hence Chloe’s involvement in the sport, but at the age of 42 he remains super-fit and is watching on with pride as his daughters pursue their own journeys in their chosen sports.

And some journeys they are on too with 17-year-old Kaitlyn having won the English Schools’ Championships and the England under-20 championships at 3,000 metres in 2021 while Chloe, who is just 16, has already been earmarked as one for the future by British Rowing who have put her in their world class start programme.

“Chloe is six feet tall and has long levers,” said Kevin, “she’s got a high level of fitness.”

What makes Chloe’s success all the more remarkable is that she only got into rowing because her dad had an indoor rowing machine in the garage during lockdown.

“I had a go and I liked it,” said Chloe, who is also a very talented runner. “I’ve started going on the water and it’s going well.

“I don’t know why I’m good at it. You need to be tall and strong and I’m 6ft, it kind of works!

“Hopefully I’ll be competing in the Olympics some day.”

But while Chloe is relatively new to her chosen sport, Kaitlyn has been running pretty much all her life.

“She started running when she was about five,” said Kevin. “She’s always been good. She’s got her Great Britain junior vest and she’s won some big races.

“She’s a bit of an all-rounder, she’s good across multiple distances. She’s a good 3k runner but she pulled out a really quick 1,500 metres this year which shows her potential.”

So is she better than her dad?

“Oh yes,” said Kevin, “she’s better than me. She’s ranked in the top five in the country for her age group across all the distances. When I went to the Commonwealth Games I was ranked 153rd.”

Kaitlyn, like her sister, is a pupil at Tewkesbury School – the family live at Pamington, just outside Tewkesbury – and while she is obviously working hard towards her A-levels, she is also very focused on her running.

“I would like to run for Great Britain frequently,” said Kaitlyn, who is supported by Gloucestershire-based sporting charity CASS & Friends. “The Commonwealth Games is obviously something I’d love to be chosen for and then hopefully the Olympics.”

You have to be talented and be prepared to work very hard to compete at that level, of course, but Kaitlyn, who like Chloe is a member of Cheltenham Harriers, appears to have both the ability and the drive.

“I train every day of the week,” said Kaitlyn, who works under the expert eye of coach Andy Beadle at Cheltenham Harriers. “A short run is about six miles and on Sundays I go on a long run which is about 10 miles. I run about 50 miles every week.

“I just enjoy running, it’s my favourite sport, I like running on the track and I enjoy cross-country.”

Her parents are her biggest supporters, of course, and her dad certainly believes that she is on the right path.

“It’s all about progression,” he said. “Running is all about consistency, we’ll see where it takes her.”

Kevin, of course, made it all the way to the Commonwealth Games in the mid-noughties, although he has mixed emotions when he looks back on the event.

“I tore my calf,” he said. “I tore it a couple of weeks before the Games. I wanted an injection to mask the pain but I was advised against it because of the risk of doing long-term damage.

“I managed to run three or four laps but I couldn’t go on. I suppose I look back with a mixture of pride and frustration, pride that I ran in the Commonwealth Games but frustration that I couldn’t compete.

“In athletics you tread a very fine line, you are only ever one session or one race away from picking up an injury.”

Kevin, who works in the military, was nevertheless, a mighty fine runner back in the day, winning a string of races.

He’s run successfully for the Army as well – as has Sarah – although these days, alongside his indoor rowing, he’s massively into his cycling.

“I did a few years of race cycling with the Army,” he said. “You get the same buzz as when you’re racing on you’re feet but you don’t get the injuries!”

It’s the injuries that have curtailed his running in recent times, but while it is rare for him to put on his spikes these days, that’s not the case with Sarah, who is 41.

“I’ve been an athlete for most of my life,” she said. “I still run for Cheltenham Harriers, 5k on the track and the odd 10k in local races.

“I used to run for the Army, that was how I met Kevin, and I can still run 5k in 19 minutes, 28, which for my age isn’t too bad.”

It certainly isn’t and while Sarah still clearly enjoys her running, she’s obviously far more interested in how Kaitlyn and Chloe develop their sporting careers over the coming months and years.

And it should be pointed out that Kevin and Sarah, who moved to this part of the world five years ago, also have two more children who are starting to take a keen interest in sport.

“Jessica is 12 and likes running and Sebastian is 10 and is into his football,” added their proud dad.

All in all, a very, very talented sporting family!

Other Images

Kaitlyn Sheppard
Chloe Sheppard
The Sheppard family – Sarah, Chloe, Jessica, Kaitlyn, Kevin and Sebastian
Sarah Sheppard
Kevin Sheppard
Chloe Sheppard
Jessica Sheppard
Sebastian Sheppard
Kevin Sheppard back in the day

Copyright © 2022 The Local Answer Limited.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to The Local Answer Limited and thelocalanswer.co.uk with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

More articles you may be interested in...

The Local Answer. Advertise to more people in Gloucestershire
The Local Answer. More magazines through Gloucestershire doors

© 2022 The Local Answer Limited - Registered in England and Wales - Company No. 06929408
Unit H, Churchill Industrial Estate, Churchill Road, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, GL53 7EG - VAT Registration No. 975613000

Privacy Policy