On Saturday I headed over to Berrrr-ming-ham with Claire Duck and her coach Mike Baxter – Claire had kindly said I could travel over with them, saving the hassle of taking the train and providing excellent company. We arrived with plenty of time to warm up round the park that surrounds the Alexander Stadium, did our strides in the covered 100m track / warm up area, and looked at the boards to see which heats we were in. Apparently there had been a last minute decision, and there would no longer be heats, just an A and B final and guess what… me and Claire were both relegated to the B final, putting us out of contention for both the England and Northern title. No Fair! Ever the optimist I had also booked accommodation for that night, hoping to have made Sundays final, so it looked like that was going to be money down the drain… However another last minute decision, and it seemed due to a few more girls turning up there would now be heats, with an A and B final scheduled for Sunday. PHEW.
Into the call up room, and out onto the track, Claire and I were both in heat 2 so we watched heat 1 carefully as it was first 4 in each heat and 4 fastest losers to go through to the final. Heat 1 looked fast, 4.25 fast… Our race set off and I got a good position in 2nd for most of the way round, there was lots of heel clipping going on but I kind of expected that. The last 400m was a bit of a burn up, but I managed to hang on for 3rd without expending too much of a sprint in the final 100m. Turns out our heat was also faster than the 1st, with all four of the fast losers coming from it, including Claire who was disappointed with her positioning but still posted a fast time of 4.29.83. We pootled round the park to get the lactic out of our legs and I retired to my, not very salubrious, nearby hotel.
I ordered tea from a nearby takeaway called Tasty Pizza… turns out it wasn’t very tasty and I only managed half of it before I felt pretty ill. With an ok night slept, I awoke on Sunday to find it was pissing it down. I stayed in the hotel for as long as possible before venturing back to the stadium at 10.30. My race wasn’t till 4.45 so I had a while to wait! After a lunch of cold rice pudding and cereal bar, I met up with Claire and we went through a similar warm up routine as the day before, this time getting pretty soggy in the process.
Some more poor organisation as we were taken out from the call room at least 20 minutes too early (as events were behind schedule), having to stand in the rain while the 110m hurdles were being contested followed by the 1500m B final. Soaked to the skin we eventually lined up. I found myself on the front for the first lap, taking the pace pretty slow. I was relieved after a lap and ran in 2nd. With 800m to go Kate Avery launched a brave attack, she went off so fast I didn’t think I would be able to keep up so resigned myself to sit in behind the chasers. With 400m to go Kate had a big lead and the burn up for 2nd and 3rd began. Once again I sat in leaving my final attack until 100m to go, passing Stacey Johnson for 2nd place. Claire finished in 10th, after having a bit of argy bargy for position in the final laps. Good job we had heats otherwise neither of us would have been able to contest the final!
I can’t believe I have an England Athletics (and Northern Athletics) medal to my name in my first season on track racing. Hopefully in better (not wet, windy and freezing) conditions I can improve my times and come back next year aiming for gold… My time of 4.24.5 also qualifies me for the Aviva UK Trials, an event that I would love to do if only to witness the pure class of the athletes involved in women’s 1500m, which seems to be one of athletics most hotly contested events at the moment.
Video Coverage: heat 2 http://www.athleticos.org/coverage/249407-2012-England-Senior-and-Parallel-Success-Championships/video/639692-1500m-W-Heat-2 A Final http://www.athleticos.org/coverage/249407-2012-England-Senior-and-Parallel-Success-Championships/video/639677-1500m-W-A-Final