Well it’s been a very busy last month with exams and racing but now I’ve finally completed my first year at Durham and I am now home for a long summer holiday, time to get some much needed TLC and live the life of a professional athlete with no other commitments allowing me to channel all my energy into athletics.
Some really exciting things have happened over the last month. Firstly, I passed my exams with flying colours, secondly I won the 800m at the England senior champs in Birmingham despite only being a junior and had the opportunity to race at the Olympic trials against the country’s top senior athletes and Olympic hopefuls and finally, I have been selected to run for Great Britain in the 1500m at the World Junior championships in Barcelona.
So I’ll tell you about these achievements in a bit more detail now, starting with the England senior champs. Me and my coach decided it would be good for me to test myself over the shorter distance of 800m (my preferred event being 1500m) to get some speed work in so the realistic aim for the competition was to make the final and run a personal best. I succeeded in making the final where I surprised myself by winning my heat in a modest 2.09 but the latter wasn’t to be that weekend. The conditions were treacherous with relentless heavy rain and strong winds, not ideal conditions for PBs. However, I was more than happy to come away with a win in the final against a field of talented 800m runners in which I was the underdog. But I sure did leave it late! I was tucked in the pack for the first lap which was painfully slow but began to move up at the bell and at 450m I took the lead, closely followed by my friend and fellow On Camp with Kelly athlete Adelle Tracey who then went ahead at 200m to go. It appeared as if she had opened up a gap on me but I didn’t give up and closed her down on the home straight. But it took my best superman impression of flinging myself over the line to clinch victory.
More than satisfied with my performance, I returned to Durham for a hard spell of training in preparation for the under 20 national championships in Bedford which incorporated the trials for the world junior championships-a very important race for me as my aim for the season was to make the GB team for these championships. But unfortunately, the week prior to the trials I fell ill and was unable to shake this illness off in time for the race. Such bad timing! Nonetheless, I travelled to Bedford intending to run the race anyway as I was desperate to make the team as I had already run the qualifying time of 4.18 twice so just needed to finish in the top 2 to secure my selection. However, upon arrival at the stadium, after seeing the doctor, I decided not to run as I didn’t want to compromise my health for the following weekend where I had been invited to run in the 1500m at the Olympic trials. It was such a tough decision but I think it was the right one in the end as my health improved and I was fit enough to compete in the trials.
My aim here was to make the final as it was a highly competitive field with 3 athletes fighting for selection for the Olympic Games and to gain race experience. Both of these goals I achieved. I finished comfortably in 3rd place in my heat in a time of 4.18 to guarantee my place in the final which was live on the BBC the following day. The final itself was a messy and unexpectedly slow race and I managed to get myself boxed in for the majority of the race and was unable to make my way through the field until the last lap which was highly frustrating. So with 200m remaining, I was in last place but I found another gear and overtook 5 athletes on the finishing straight to finish in a respectable 7th place in my first Olympic trials. At first, I was disappointed with this but I have since analysed my race and taken the positives in that I had a strong finish and did well initially to qualify for the final as one of the youngest athletes in the field. It was a great experience to race Britain’s best 1500m runners and I wish the winner of the trials, Laura Weightman, the best of luck in the Olympic games. Hopefully in 4 years time, I will be one of the athletes in contention for selection for the Olympic Games!
Still buzzing from the Olympic trials weekend, the following day I received a call informing me I had been selected for the 1500m at the World Junior Championships. I was over the moon and even now, 3 days later, the news hasn’t fully sunk in. I will be travelling to Barcelona with the rest of the GB team on the 6th of July and returning on the 16th. This will be my first championships on a global scale so I am really excited to stand on the start line next to the world’s best junior athletes, namely the Kenyans, Ethiopians and Americans.
So between now and then I have a lot of hard work to do in terms of training to ensure I reach Barcelona in the best shape I have ever been in. I am looking forward to the challenge! I will update you on my progress on my return.