Celebrity SAS - Shanaze


Category: Press Pack Article

Why did you sign up for this show?

As soon as I saw the show was on the TV years ago, I was like, "That's a bit of me!” It's obviously mentally challenging, physically, and emotionally. I was like, "If I ever got the opportunity, I'd grab it with both hands because I want to be tested away from sport and arena, to step out of my comfort zone." It was just the perfect show to do.

Did you do any preparation before going onto the course?

I did maybe a week, but I didn't have any boots or anything like that. I liked that because I didn't want to go in fully primed. I wanted to go in and go for the unexpected, just to totally immerse myself within the show.

How would you rate your mental strength?

I think mentally I was probably in the best position I'd ever been in my life because when I retired I went down a dark path. Before I got onto the show I was almost three years sober at that point. I think just mentally I was in a great place. I got used to coming out of sport and had gone through that transition. I just wanted to show you can work on yourself at home and do all of that, but when you're faced with really high stress situations, that's when you can really see that what you've done is a strong foundation.

How did you feel about putting yourself back into a competitive environment?

To be honest, I was just relishing the opportunity. I was just super excited and tried to approach it like I would a competition, making sure I got my food right. It put me back into that prep of getting ready for a race again which was quite nice.

How did you feel when you found out who you would be on the course with?

When heard James Cracknell was on there, I was like, "Oh god, here we go." The group of people that we were on with was one of the best groups of people I've met in their reasonings for doing it. For me, I don't see people as celebrities, so to speak. I just respect people's stories or what they've achieved. I was just excited to meet whoever I was going to be the on the show with.

Did it feel competitive when you were in there?

You know what? It didn't feel competitive because we were such a strong unit and such a strong team. We wanted to prove that we were the strongest, and the fittest, and all that, but then actually as the week went on, we drew a nice bond together, we just all really had each other's backs. It went from being not about you being the best, but just making sure the team did their very best each day. It was a beautiful experience.

Did you feel like you had anything to prove?

I did feel like I had something to prove. In Beijing when I crashed in 2008, and I was leaving the Olympics, I always felt shortchanged, not getting the results that I wanted. I always felt like a part of me had died, that I was never going to get the opportunity to put myself in that position again. There was a moment when Ore and I, we’d been paired together, were running over these hills and I had this overwhelming feeling come over me. I can't explain it, but I felt like the flame that had gone out within me, lit back up and it's never left me. I feel like that kid again that can go and take on the world. It sounds silly, but this show has just done so much for me.

What was it that flicked that switch in you?

I think in life, even if you don't realise it, you can be very much in your comfort zone. I think unknowingly when I retired, I did train every day still and did all that, but nothing really pushed me to my absolute limit because you're safe in normal society. This show really pushed me to that absolute limit again, I think I hadn't experienced that for many years. When I had the opportunity to experience being back in that field, the flame inside me lit up again. Whatever it did, it was something I've been searching and seeking for for many years.

What did you make of the DS?

They are just incredible. We were there on a TV show, but they're tough individuals. I think I was in awe of them. I consider myself pretty fit but they were running through the hills like we were stood still. It was making us look like idiots. They were so fit. They were just unbelievable. I think sometimes I was more in awe of Ant Middleton. I have so much respect for them. I'd sit there and think, "I wonder what your eyes have seen and where you've been." I just had a lot of respect for those guys as opposed to the celebs, I think.

You have to wrestle the other celebrities, what was that like?

The thing is I don't like fighting. I don't like violence. But what we said to each other is obviously don't take it personally. I'm looking forward to watching it back because in my head I remember I was quite gentle with people, I was picking them up and putting them out of the ring. It was just a surreal moment to be stood in a field, and being shouted out with the DS saying, "Go fight!" From the moment you opened your eyes on that show, you were just second guessing everything.

What was it like doing the armed hostage task?

We obviously did a bit of gun training, and then they were like, "Right, go in." I was being that cautious and that careful but they just shot me! It feels so real, I was like a rabbit in the headlights. I was just like, "What the hell is going on?” I got shot with a rubber bullet in my tummy, it hurt, they're rubber bullets, but they still came with some force. I’ve still got the mark, a permanent reminder of doing this show.

You also had to fall off a helicopter into water, what was that like?

I was the only recruit that couldn't swim so I can honestly say I've never ever, and this is true, put so much trust into another individual in my life. I just looked at Ant in the eyes, and I was like, "Ant, I'm going to be okay, aren't I?" He was like, "Do everything I say, and you'll be absolutely fine." I took everything he said, fully put all my trust into it, and executed it perfectly. I think it was the most serene and a beautiful sensation of just falling through the air. I thought it'd be really scary, but it was just so peaceful. I absolutely loved it. When I got into the water, I was actually fine. A lot of them are saying, "Oh, it was so cold," and everything, but I actually felt okay.

What did you think about the camp you had to live in for the week?

I loved it because for me, it just reminds me of my BMX days. We camped out in a tent when I was a kid, and you cracked on with it. There was no luxuries, and everything was stripped back. It literally brought me back to when I was a kid as well. Seeing the other celebs, me and Alexandra would go to the loo together, and she'd be singing Hallelujah. It was some moments that stuck with me like, "What the hell?” It's funny. You think you have a perception of someone or what they're going to be like, and then you meet them, and they're completely different. They're all really nice. Me, Kerry, Ulrika, and Vicky have stayed really good friends.

Has the show changed your life?

Yeah, I think it's changed my life. I'd do that show again in a heartbeat. It was the hardest thing physically, mentally, and emotionally ever, but I would do it again tomorrow because the growth that I've got from it, and the experience that I've got from it, I think I'd pay to go and do it. I absolutely loved it.