The steeplechaser shares her journey from a fourth-place finish at the Commonwealth Games to competing at the European Championships
April’s Commonwealth Games feel like a lifetime ago now, but I have so many special memories from the whole experience.
It was my first multi-sport games, and the biggest difference from any other international competition I have done was the village. The athlete village in Gold Coast was beautiful! It was so well thought out, with everything an athlete could want or need. I loved being immersed in the atmosphere with people from umpteen different countries, and such a huge array of sports. It was so diverse, and interesting!
The women’s steeplechase final was reasonably late in the timetable. I had watched so many of my friends and team-mates perform incredibly and couldn’t wait for my chance. When I reflect on my personal performance from the Games my overwhelming emotion is pride. Having started pretty slowly a significant injection of pace came at the halfway mark, and I fully committed to the lead group. I battled on, and as the group was whittled down even further realised I was sat in fourth, with a gap on those behind me. I gave it everything and ended up finishing fourth. Despite not making the podium, I had achieved my personal goal of a top-five finish, and secured a qualification standard for the European Championships.
Just 24 hours after my Commonwealth Games race I was on a flight back to the UK. With one week before I set off for a training camp in South Africa, I wanted to get home, recover from the jet lag, and spend some time with friends and family.
Our base for May was Potchefstroom (pictured below), situated in the North West province of South Africa, at an elevation of 1300m. It has been a popular training destination for many athletes for years, but this was to be my first visit. It’s easy to understand the popularity, with brilliant facilities, and the Sports Village taking care of you so well. Everything is in place so that you can fully focus on your training.
Personally I felt very tired when we first got to camp from a combination of travel and a post-champs lull. The camp environment really helped me relax and take the time I needed to get my mojo back. The endurance camps are always such a supportive atmosphere and I left Potchefstroom having completed some great training and feeling really excited to race!
June is always a crazy month for us athletes as we hop all over the continent for races. I have had to sit out this racing period for the past two seasons through injury, so couldn’t wait to get out on the circuit and compete. I absolutely love travelling, and whilst racing only gives you a tiny snapshot of each destination, it has helped me develop an amazing list of places to revisit! My early season ventures proved very worthwhile and I was rewarded with PBs in both the 1500m and the 3000m steeplechase.
Running fast, however, only satisfies part of the selection criteria for the European Championships and I still needed a top-two finish at the British Championships in order to secure my inclusion in the team.
Racing is by far my favourite aspect of our sport and I still get super nervous! I tell myself that the butterflies are a sign of how much I care and they do melt away when I start warming up.
On what was an incredibly hot day at the Alexander Stadium, I loved every single step of my 3000m steeplechase and was so pleased to be crowned British champion.
That was it, all boxes ticked to secure my spot on the team for the Europeans! I prepped for the Champs in St. Moritz with the endurance team and it is a distance runners paradise up there. The team were all working amazingly and I for one can’t wait to see each and every one of us smash it in Berlin!