I feel blessed to have been given this opportunity to represent GB, something i only could dream about.
Having been selected back in June, it felt like a lifetime away and back last Tuesday all became real as we all descended to Heathrow airport for a late flight out.
For the first few days, it was like waiting for “D-day”, along with sheltering from humid/hot conditions something we didn’t leave behind in the UK. I couldn’t get into the relaxation mode until after the event and was more concerned about the temperature, being very British, we like to talk about the weather, that said it wasn’t the hardest part of the race in the end but the surface negotiation.
With the countdown to the race, despite still being in Race mode I remembered the 11am (2pm local Doha) minute silence for respect before heading down to our team to discuss “drink station”. Having had ” hydrate, hydrate” for the last few days I had literally felt I was constantly drinking water, to the point analyzing the race caused a stitch due to drinking too much. As you will know from watching the Olympics, GB have high expectations of medals and pretty much from the outset told the same that we had a chance, #nopressure! So that moves me onto the race….
The temperature was hot, was sweating on the warm up but knew it was the same for us all, and why I opted for Race knickers v’s shorts and in the end the kit overall thumbs up from GB/Nike.
Nervous as hell, multiple trips to the toilet, it was off to start for 6pm, the gun went off and now time to embrace 20 laps of the 2.5k course. What was hard was the surface, tiled flooring all the way and ceramic tiling which could prove dangerous with water. Pacing early stages was spot on for 6.30’s but slowed in the 2nd half with the hard beating on the paved tiles and blisters forming. Could you say a risk wearing race flats? However, I would wear them for a marathon and didn’t want to change anything for 50k. What was great about the laps was you got your position/time when you went round it was very helpful.
We had an amazing team with David Lowes the Ladies Team manager, Walter Hill the Chairman/selector/Men’s Team Manager along with Ross’s wife Claire and Mike and Andy’s dads. They turned out to become very handy protecting our drinks/gels etc from the local kids.
As the race progressed Amy felt strong so she ran on and I dealt with a very tight hamstring/hip but knew we needed every second. We later found that the Americans had been leading but surged on with the last few laps to close them down. The lucky break came when all the team management from the GB station screamed we need “1 minute 10 secs” close the Americans down. So I pushed in pain and caught the American, amongst the Croatians who also had a strong team. Watching some of the men and women being carted off for DNF’s actually made me want to carry on despite fighting with the head.
Well, it was all worth it because we secured team gold with Amy in first, Rebecca Hilland in second, myself as the third scorer in 3hrs 35 and shortly followed after by Hannah Oldroyd. The men also ran exceptionally well with securing Silver. One of their best championships yet having Amy in third and two 5th places amongst the teams and 2 podium team wins. Proud to have been part of something special and will target selection again.