Memories of being a London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Julia Hayes

It’s just 50 days until the Rio Olympic Games 2016 and as the Olympic Torch makes its way around Brazil - the last part of the journey before the Games begin in August - Brookes alumna Julia Hayes shares memories of being a London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer.

“The only way to describe the day is like my wedding day – a memory I’ll never forget. Stepping off the Torch bus and seeing so many people smiling and cheering was breath-taking. I was instantly surrounded by friends, family and even people I’d never met before, all wanting a photo with the Torch.

“There was such a party atmosphere leading up to the Olympics and the day the Torch came to Oxford was so exciting because it meant the waiting was nearly over. I felt very humble and honoured to carry the Torch, especially when I heard the stories of some of the other Torchbearers. I still have the actual Torch that I carried – reminding me of what a special day it was.” 

Julia, who was in the final year of a five-year part-time degree in nutrition at the time, was nominated by members of the Benson Striders – a running club she set up in 2010 and has been managing since. 

Stepping off the Torch bus and seeing so many people smiling and cheering was breath-taking. I was instantly surrounded by friends, family and even people I’d never met before, all wanting a photo with the Torch.

Julia Hayes, Freelance Nutritionist and Oxford Brookes alumna

Julia decided to take a part-time degree at Oxford Brookes to pursue her ambition of helping people lead more healthy and active lives and the secret of her success is making training social and fun: 

“Health promotion has become a real passion for me. I love working with groups of people and helping to motivate them to be healthier.
“The running is as serious as you want to make it. We have runners of all abilities but the reason most people come is for the social side. I have made a lot of good friends through it and that’s partly why I did it.”

Julia now works as a Freelance Nutritionist, promoting health and wellbeing in schools and to employees in large businesses. Although she is looking forward to the Olympics, she explains why it won’t be quite the same: “The atmosphere in the country over the three weeks was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I hope the people of Brazil have as much fun as we did, but then, if anyone can live up to the party atmosphere we had in 2012, it’s the Brazilians!”

More information about studying Nutrition can be found on the Department of Sport and Health Sciences webpages.