‘I began my sporting career playing rugby for Kenfig Hill R.F.C. I came to athletics quite late, in my early twenties; I quickly found that I had a passion for running and an ambition to improve and learn. While working as a carpenter and then as a teacher, I began dedicating more and more time to running. This led to some early success which motivated me to further my running and achieving greater goals. When I began my career in athletics making a living as an athlete was not easy. With little professional infrastructure in place, and classed as an “entertainer” my accountant had to make some particularly interesting entries when preparing my accounts!
I was very fortunate to have a supportive wife, Jacqueline, who not only shared my passion for athletics but is a renowned athlete in her our right, and often our young family would travel to races with us around the world. Together an environment was created with our family that we could nurture our running, and this quality we later took into our roles working for Welsh Athletics.
Dedicating yourself to a sport enables you to develop qualities as a person that can be shared in many other aspects of your life. To be successful, talent is not enough. You need discipline, hard work and belief in your own abilities. Belief can grow when you achieve success. This develops a cycle of success. With success your confidence grows. When I began my sporting career I did not have much confidence yet by pushing myself to meet greater and greater challenges it grows.
As an athlete you discover that it is the accumulation of the many small things that add up to make a big difference in competition. Eating, sleeping, technology, mental attitude and how you live your life are all interconnected and affect performance. Attention to detail is very important. They all play their part. I now foster the same dedication and understanding that enabled me to reach success as an athlete into my current role, advocating and progressing athletics in Wales and the UK. People are the most important commodity in any organisation, and I spend a lot of time networking and making connections between them. When people work together and share their many different experiences and qualities, success is achieved.’Steve Brace
Steve is an advocate and supporter of the benefit of participation in sport. He is the founder of the Cardiff half marathon.