Over the last month, I have competed at two championships. Due to having to miss English School’s, the South Of England and the National Athletics Championships were my biggest races of the season and I have had my mind focused on them since I realised I was going to be on holiday for English School’s all the way back in June! I was so desperate to make up for my English School’s absence by smashing these two races so throughout July and August, I dedicate a lot of time into steeple – I even bought my own hurdle (which was completely worth it)- to give myself the best chance of doing well!
South Of England Athletics Championships, 11th August
This race was right off the back of Full Potential Running Camp (which was absolutely brilliant and I may write a blog on it soon) which ended up meaning that I hadn’t had a full rest day since the Friday of the previous week… certainly not the best preparation. It was also extremely windy so not the best chance of a PB for me. Nevertheless, I was desperate for a medal.
Warming up on the indoor track at Lee Valley was amazing (particularly as I had never seen one before) and I felt pretty ready to go by the time they took us to the call room. For the first 250m of the race, I settled behind a little group around 3rd (two of my friends had already paced ahead) but by the 1st barrier, another girl and I broke away. At the first water jump, I pulled away from the other girl and found myself alone in 3rd for the last two laps.
Due to the fact that I couldn’t catch my friend in front and there was a decent sized gap behind me, I had a pretty atrocious last lap… fatigue in my legs definitely caught up with me! Fortunately, I remained in my position and managed 3rd in the South Of England, behind two of my friends! It was a really lovely experience and my first time on a podium at a championship!
National Athletics Championship, 26th August
I had been so focused on the Nationals since June therefore, when it came to the day, I was ecstatic with excitement. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the worse weather possible for a steeplechase (and for any running really): heavy, heavy rain and windy!! This left me a bit disheartened as it meant a PB was unlikely but I decided to just focus on having a good race. In the very back of my mind, I of course wanted to aim for a medal… but being 8th fastest on paper out of 18, my odds weren’t great. Fo
The whole experience was extremely cool. We were all given a lanyard and, the best part, numbers with our surname on!! After watching a few races and jogging a bit, we went into the indoor facility to escape the rain and warm up. We were called into the call room at 1:45 and given are leg numbers (which, as suspected, didn’t even survive the first water jump). Then they lead us out to the start, let us do a few barrier strides and then lined us up ready to go.
The first 250m was extremely fast and I tried to go with a girl who I have beaten this year, knowing a lot of faster people were behind me (which usually unnerves me). By the first water jump, I found myself in 4th place (quite a way behind 2nd and 3rd who I knew were much quicker than me… and miles behind 1st who is my training partner and happens to be the best in the country). Nevertheless, on the lap 3, I worked very hard to close the gap and, by the second water jump, I was nearly level with 3rd!! However, the work I had put in on that lap and the realisation that I was running next to people much faster than me had caused me to tire greatly. A combination of mental and physical fatigue caused a pretty pitiful last lap and I lost touch with the 2nd and 3rd girls. Fortunately, I managed to hang on to fourth place, beating many girls a lot faster than me on paper.
I had very mixed emotions about the race. Obviously 4th at Nationals is pretty cool but, i’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed to miss out on the medals. It would have been an insane race if I had got a medal as I would have had to run a 6 second PB in a race where pretty much no one ran a PB but it was just that I got so close on the penultimate lap! I also ended up with a very disappointing time which makes me think that I probably could have pushed harder on that last lap if I had believed a bit more… but to be fair, I was more exhausted than I ever had been in a steeple at the end and I was struggling to hurdle on the last lap.
It’s hard not to think of what could have been if I had really gone for it on that last lap but, in reality, it would have been near impossible to beat those girls and I was so happy to see them on the podium. If you told me at the start of the season that I would have come 4th at Nationals, I would have been delighted! Also, I’m younger in the age group so, next year, maybe I can get among those medals!!
As of now, I have one more race and one more chance for the PB I am so desperate for at the YDL National Final (that happens to also be on my birthday). I’m excited to return to Bedford and to try and finally break that 5:20 barrier as I feel like 5:21 doesn’t quite reflect where I am at in my steeple chasing. After that, there is a relatively large chance that I will be going to Spain for the European Club Cup Championships which I am very excited for! Considering the fact that it is an U20 competition and I am a first year U17, it is unlikely that I will get a chance to actually race but going as a reserve will still be a great experience.
Then, it’s off to cross country. I cannot wait!
Anyway, thank you for reading and I hope you have all had a great summer,