11 influential athletes to follow on social media

1/ Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Instagram: johnsonthompson

Twitter: johnsonthompson

Olympian, heptathlete, pentathlete, high jumper: Katarina Johnson-Thompson once half-joked that
 she took up multi-sport competition because she’s indecisive and she gets bored easily. These are perhaps character traits we can be grateful for because it makes for a varied look into the life and mind of one of Team GB’s most promising athletes. While KJT has yet to live up to her billing as the natural successor to Jessica Ennis-Hill (she has two fifth spots and a 28th-place finish in her last three world championships, and she came sixth 
in the Rio Olympics), she’s happy to engage on social media with athletics fans and to frankly dissect her performances – good and bad – as well as debating whether 
she should give up heptathlon and switch to the solo high-jump event (she jumped a British record of 1.98m in the heptathlon at 
the Rio Olympics, a height good enough to have taken gold in the individual event). She’s also quick to express her views on issues such as doping in track and field, flags up the performances of lesser-known fellow athletes she feels the public should be aware of and posts videos offering insight into her life as an athlete, from training in the rain, the tedium of competition travel or the trouble avoiding Game of Thrones spoilers when she’s on a training camp. Her two sausage dogs, Chorizo and Bronx, also feature and if there’s one thing we’ve noticed, it’s that you lot love pooches almost as much as running. In an age of carefully controlled media images, KJT’s what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach is a breath of fresh air.


2/ Tina Muir

 

A post shared by Tina Muir (@tinamuir88) on

I: tinamuir88

T: tinamuir

A GB athlete and 2:36 marathon runner, Tina is also the creator of the #Running4Real community, where she helps runners to foster a healthy mindset around 
the sport of running and appreciate the joy of movement without getting overwhelmed by unattainable goals.


3/ Iwan Thomas

 

A post shared by Iwan Thomas �� (@iwanrunner) on

I: Iwanrunner

T: Iwanrunner

Former Olympic athlete and now marathon runner, triathlete, Masterchef contestant, TV presenter, Strictly contender and more, Iwan Thomas offers up a slice of what a former pro gets up once they hang up the spikes. And from what we can tell, it’s all bloody good fun.


4/ Dean Karnazes

 

A post shared by Dean Karnazes (@ultramarathon) on

I: ultramarathon

T: deankarnazes

The daddy of modern-day ultra running, Karnazes gave up a career 
in marketing 25
 years ago to run increasingly insane distances around the globe (350 miles non-stop over a weekend anyone?). His great enthusiasm and pithy engagement with his followers are like a shot of adrenaline.


5/ Jez Bragg

 

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I: @jezbragg

T: @jezbragg

Let ultra runner Jez be your window to the other side of running, the side where supreme beings bound across mountaintops in some of the world’s most spectacular locations. You won’t know whether you’re gasping more at
his achievements 
or his awesome photography.


6/ Mara Yamauchi

T: @mara_yamauchi

Making the transition from Britain’s second-fastest female marathon runner (behind Paula) to coach, Mara is worth following as she comments on the world of athletics; her views on subjects such as up-and-coming athletes and drug cheats, and her racing knowledge, are not to be missed.


7/ Kilian Jornet

 

A post shared by Kilian Jornet (@kilianjornet) on

I: kilianjornet

If you haven’t read our feature on him, the easiest way to describe this Catalan wonder is
to call him the Usain Bolt of mountain sports. Kilian has won just about every mountain ultra you can think of, has run up and down Everest twice and records it all on Instagram for us to marvel at.


8/ Laura Muir

 

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I: lmuiruns

T: lauramuiruns

Multiple British record holder Laura was described by a former coach as ‘the next Paula Radcliffe’ and that was long before videos
 of her rebellious victory lap in the European Indoor Championships went viral. She’s also studying to be a vet (everyone needs a backup plan, right?).


9/ Shalane Flanagan

 

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T: shalaneflanagan

Olympic silver medallist in the 10,000m (Beijing), US record holder in 3000m and 5000m (indoor) and author of Run Fast Eat Slow. If you love pounding the streets and eating lots in equal measure (yes you do) then US runner Shalane’s accounts might be right up your street.

Check out Shalane's superhero muffin recipe here.

10/ Emelie Forsberg

 

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T: tinaemelie

Forsberg’s talent, in spite of being the kind of ultra-distance runner most of us only become in our dreams, is to get across her love of the mountains and running, and to detail her struggles as well as her triumphs, all without sounding like the superior being she is. Oh, and her partner is Kilian Jornet.

11/ Kelly Sotherton

 

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T: kellysotherton

If you’re a running (and Arsenal) fan, then Kelly Sotherton is a must-follow. Like Mara Yamauchi, the three-time Olympic medal winner (heptathlon and 4×400m relay) and silver medallist in the 2007 World Championships is a great supporter of new talent and a strong voice against doping.