ESL supports Amelia’s European success
Amelia has sent us an update from the past year of training and how she prepared for the European Indoor Championships in Poland.
“European Indoor Championships was only my second indoor competition. Usually, at this time of year, I am competing in cross country but all the cross country races were cancelled.
Over Christmas, I was able to get in some consistent training. I was granted elite access in January, however, there were not many facilities open to use. I made use of Swinley Forest and Windsor Great Park for runs and sessions. It was difficult to gauge where my fitness was at as the adverse weather conditions played havoc with my paces and times and I was doing all my training alone. My coach Mick Woods helped me to remain positive and focused. I also got plenty of encouragement from people enjoying their lockdown walks!
The British trial race was my first ever time on an indoor track. It took me a few laps to get used to the banked track and to get my head around the lap being 200m rather than the 400m used outside. I finished second, narrowly out-sprinting third place (my first time coming out on top in a sprint finish!). I was delighted when I got the selection call for Europeans. I returned to university ahead of travelling to Poland and was able to do two of the best track sessions of my life. This further boosted my confidence heading into the race.
Travelling meant lots of COVID tests- a PCR before travel, an RT-LAMP test on arrival and after 5 days in Poland, then lateral flow tests before and after returning home. I had an amazing experience at my first senior track championships and learned a lot from the more experienced members of the team.
I enjoyed leading the heat. This is my favourite way to run and in this race, it made sense to keep the pace honest and stay out of trouble. I qualified in the 4th automatic qualifying spot knowing that I had more to give in the final. The final was the next day, so I quickly cooled down and headed back to the hotel for food, physio treatment, and bed.
I went into the final ready to lay everything on the line, knowing that I had nothing to lose. I was happy when Selamawit Bayoulgn (Israel) set off at an aggressive pace. I settled in behind her feeling relaxed and knowing that the front group was getting progressively smaller. In the last km, the lead changed multiple times and I found myself getting pushed around. With a lap to go there was a fall and my two GB teammates, Amy-Eloise Markovc and Verity Ockenden accelerated away from the group. I pushed the pace to close the lap but ultimately ended up 5th. I was surprised when a small part of me wanted more, especially knowing that I had been so close to a medal. However, 5th in my first European senior championships in a PB was more than I could have expected. I spent the week on cloud 9- incredibly happy with my performance and proud of my teammates for their gold and bronze medals.
Paul has always been incredibly supportive of me and my running. Bracknell AC has a long history of international athletes and through Paul, I have heard so many inspiring stories about the clubs’ past successes. ESL have been supporting me financially since 2018. Around this time I had a stress fracture in my femoral neck and the support enabled me to see a sports doctor and get an MRI scan very quickly. Since then the support has allowed me to replace my trainers and spikes regularly, spend a month in Font Romeu ahead of the 2019 track season, and travel to races. It means a lot to me to have the support and financial backing of Paul and everyone at ESL. In the summer of 2019, I did some work for the company and enjoyed meeting all the brilliant staff and learning more about what they do!”