Athlete Profile - Fiona Bunn | Sport at Cambridge skip to content

Athlete Profile - Fiona Bunn

Name: Fiona Bunn

College: Queens’

Studying: Natural Sciences (Biochemistry)

School: St Helen and St Katharine's


When and how did you get into sport?

“I've always loved being active and outdoors, and my whole family enjoy sport. You could say I first got into sport before birth even as my Mum did a mountain marathon whilst pregnant with me! My first orienteering race by myself was when I was about 6 (before then one of my parents would accompany me). It was just a bit of fun at the weekend at first, but I started training properly for endurance running when I was 11, after a few years of going along to the local athletics club in the younger kids group. My first international experience was in 2014. I haven't always been only focused on running; when I was younger I used to do gymnastics and dance, but I realised that I got a lot better once I stopped training for these so regularly and put more focus into my running training.”


What are your top sporting achievements?

- Junior World Orienteering championships (GB U20 team 2015-2020, the record number of performances for a GB athlete at this championships).

- Best results in 2020: Silver in Middle distance, Gold in relay the best ever GB results in individual and relay respectively, 9th= Sprint.

- 2019 BUCS and Varsity Orienteering champion.

- Cambridge Blue in Orienteering, Cross country and Athletics (steeplechase).

- Pre-university: England representation in mountain running, Silver at Junior Home international championships 2017


What is your advice for balancing sport and academia?

“Time management is obviously key, and it can lead to some long busy days where you are rushing between numerous academic commitments and training sessions. But self-care is also important: the things that Cambridge athletes often forget can be sleep, recovery and adequate nutrition (sometimes tricky when many of your meals are on the go).”


What has the support from UCAPP meant to you?

“UCAPP has transformed my time at Cambridge. The programme helped me to achieve my best ever results in my final year competing as a junior athlete through giving me access to so many services (gym access, physio, S&C sessions) and specialists (nutrition, psychology etc.) to help optimise different elements and aspects of being an elite athlete. Everyone I worked with was genuinely invested in helping me progress and gave very personalised and useful feedback. In particular I always look forward to the weekly S&C sessions (which really helped me prepare for hilly terrain whilst in Cambridge through building leg strength) and have been fortunate to have very good physio support through quite a number of injuries. I particularly valued the UCAPP support through a long recent injury, as its not all about high performance and achievements. When out of action for a long time you can feel less connected to being an elite athlete as you have to modify your training and lose the competition aspect of your sport, but I was so lucky to have a team of experts to turn to for advice on all aspects of recovery and people who still believed in me as an athlete and could drive me to do my best.


Anything else that you’d like to add?

Some advice for the lockdown…whilst I know it's far more difficult for other sports to maintain their training through this time than is for runners, I'm personally using the time with a lack of competitions to work on a few weaknesses and make good habits of doing more stretching/mobility and drills that I wouldn't usually have the time for. I'm also finding new ways to add some interest to my training: I'd like to start doing a bit of barefoot running for example to build foot and ankle strength! Hopefully I can come out of lockdown as a more robust athlete. It helps that all the UCAPP program support is continuing virtually, and also that CUH&H are doing so much to help us all keep in contact, with a Virtual Fantasy college league with different challenges most weeks, and group S&C sessions 3 times a week.