By Lucy Roberts 

Helen Hall is an athlete with dreams of representing her country in running and getting the England vest for the 10k after she got the qualifying time for it last year.

Helen Hall

Helen Hall

But running isn’t the only thing in Hall’s life, she also works at British apothecary Tea & Tonic where she puts her degree in Biology to use by working alongside the production manager and gain a better understanding of adaptogens which are used in the products.

Hall spoke to Female First about how she got into running and became a professional athlete, explained why she wanted to work at Tea & Tonic and revealed what her future plans are.

Q) What is Tea & Tonic?

A) Tea & Tonic is a British super herb apothecary featuring the next generation of adaptogens across a range of Superherb teas and Superherb skincare tonics. We are the first of our kind to harness the synergistic benefits of adaptogens for optimal resilience, balance and brightness of skin, mind and body. Adaptogens need to be ingested and applied for optimal results and because we believe that wellness should be simple and pleasurable, we have developed a range of face, body and bath care products which are a joy to the senses. Break free of your ‘skin type’ and enjoy the simplicity of choosing from our range based on your mood or product preference and de-clutter your bathroom shelves as you do!

Q) Why did you want to work at Tea & Tonic?

A) I was first attracted to working for Tea & Tonic by founder, Sarah Strang. Sarah is such an inspiration and I have learnt so much from her already; she is knowledgeable, experienced, and extremely passionate. I joined the company prior to the launch of the brand and on learning about Tea & Tonic, I was hooked.

As an athlete, I am always looking for natural ways to aid recovery, enabling me to perform better in both training and races, and was already aware of Adaptogens and their benefits and how they can aid muscle recovery. In particular Turmeric which I would add to tonic water. However, most products I came across containing Adaptogens were in supplement form where you don’t fully know the ingredients and ultimately on discovering Tea & Tonic, what better way to get your Adaptogen fix than through the enjoyment of your favourite cup of tea?

Q) How much has your degree in Biology helped you at the company?

A) My degree in Biology has enabled me to fully understand the science behind Adaptogens and how they interact with our bodies. Internally with our stress response systems which control our hormones, and externally their ability to help the skin adapt to environmental stresses. Then to understanding why we pair our Adaptogens together due to their unique properties.

I work closely with our Production Manager, Usha, as we refine the procedures for making of the products and my laboratory experience has been vital. But also, a big part of who I am as a Biologist is not just learning how nature works, but also wanting to protect nature. At Tea & Tonic sustainability is at the core of everything we do from working with local growers; blending in small batches; and using recyclable and biodegradable packaging, we are doing our bit to protect our planet.

Q) You are an athlete first and foremost, so could you explain why you wanted to start running?

A) I first got into running when I was 10. I’ve always enjoyed sports, but was never particularly excelled at anything, until we moved into Year 6 and had kit fit on a Friday which involved running up and down the playground where I found myself front running with ease. My teachers encouraged me to join a local running club and I have been running ever since.

I was competing at a high level throughout my teen years, racing for the county on several occasions. My running journey hasn’t always been smooth – it takes a lot to keep running at a high level and injuries have plagued me in the past. I was on and off for several years but have always come back because I’ve missed the pure joy you get from lacing up your trainers and escaping out the door – the competitive side in me then kicks in.

Three years ago, I made the decision that I wanted to give running my full focus again and see what I could achieve. I work with a team of people; my coach, strength and conditioning coach, dietitian, and physio, all to support me in achieving my goals.

Q) What’s the achievement you’re most proud of and why?

A) My proudest running achievement without doubt was winning the Hampshire County Cross Country Championships. Hampshire is a very competitive county, and I was not expecting to win. It was one of those moments when everything clicks into place, I lead from the start and just pulled away from the field. In the Athletic world, you cannot have those moments taken away from you.

Q) What’s in store for the future for you personally?

A) Personally, I am fully focused on becoming an England athlete and gaining the England vest for the 10km – I ran the qualifying time last year, so now need to build on that and hope for selection. Outside of running, my partner and I are due to start building a house together!

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