Ever wondered what it’s like stepping into the lion’s den of a world-class training group? US 400m hurdles champion and world number two Kori Carter made that leap when she joined Bob Kersee’s LA-based elite squad in April as the new kid in the blocks.

“A few months ago I switched coaches to join Bob Kersee’s group in LA. At first it was a little crazy. It was hectic. I was still finishing off my studies with two classes at Stanford University, so I was training down in LA before flying back up to Stanford for classes.

“Bob Kersee has been amazing. It is a real treat to be able to train together with these girls such as Allyson Felix [eight-times world and four-times Olympic champion] and Dawn Harper Nelson [2008 Olympic 100m hurdles gold medallist] that I used to have posters of up on my wall. To now be hanging out with them and working out with them is amazing.

Allyson Felix, Dawn Harper Nelson, Kori Carter and Jeneba Tarmoh

“They have been hugely welcoming in training and they have also been hugely beneficial in terms of helping me understand how this track gig works. It has been really cool. 

“I remember being so nervous ahead of the first training session, I got there super-early. Probably about 30 minutes ahead of when I needed to. I didn’t even know where to put my bag.

“The first workout was a 400m followed by three 250m and another 400m. I was really nervous and wondered if I was able to keep up. My biggest fear was everyone would take off and leave me. I was okay. I kept up.

“I hope to run more 100m hurdles in future, which I know Bob Kersee is really excited about. Dawn has been super-helpful. I remember doing one practise clearing the first three hurdles with Dawn to my right side and Ginnie Crawford [two-time 100m hurdles world championship finalist] to the left. 

“It was one of the most exciting practises I’ve ever done. It was cool and I called my dad after the session to tell him. I thought, oh, my gosh, I’ve got to pick up the rhythm because I haven’t been working on 100m hurdles of late. Thankfully, because the hurdles are a rhythm event, I got faster [as the session progressed]. I’ve just loved watching them and analysing their technique. It has been awesome.

Bobby Kersee's LA-based super-group

“I’ve worked hard on making the first six hurdles – with 15 strides between each – more consistent. I’m also really working hard on my last three hurdles, so Bob will make me run the last three hurdles when I’m really tired. He has instilled a lot of confidence in me and that makes me really believe in myself.

“As Bobby has got to know me more, he has bumped up the endurance work. Now the other girls in the training group don’t want to work out with me. My workouts are now twice as long as theirs [Kori is the only 400m hurdler in the group]. They think I’m a little crazy because I always ask to do more.”