I qualified for the European Athletics Championships by the skin of my teeth. For the 6 weeks before the GB trials I hadnít run for 2 weeks due to injury.
At the trials I missed the qualifying time for my event Ė the 3000m steeplechase - of 9:40 by just 0.69 seconds.
My luck changed the next weekend when I achieved the qualifying standard by 0.00 seconds Ė running 9:40.00 24 hours before the deadline.
I travelled to the training
The championships began on July 27 and there were some good British performances on that first day, notably with a Gold-Silver in the Menís 10000m. This kick-started a positive atmosphere amongst the Brits which remained all the way through the championships and really motivated everyone.
On the 2nd day I went into my heat thinking that if I ran really well I could qualify for the final as a fastest loser. I took on the pace fairly early to make sure the race was fast, all the time expecting half the field to come surging past me. To my surprise no-one did, and with 2 laps to go I was running at the front of a breakaway group of 3. I managed not to fall into the water jump and was delighted to finish in an automatic qualifying spot.
That race gave me so much confidence, and I was now aiming for the top 6 in the final. The noise and atmosphere for the final were something Iíd never experienced before. A Spaniard was one of the favourites and the Spanish crowd were chanting her name with a relentless fervour.
I managed not to get over-excited and started the race controlled, working my way through the field and gaining confidence with every person I overtook. I didnít realise I was close to getting a medal until 300m to go when I noticed I was in 4th place. I kicked all the way to the finish but Iíd started my surge too late and finished less than 1 second behind 3rd.
I think I was the happiest 4th place finished in the entire championships then! I knew Iíd done my best but it didnít stop me from being slightly disappointed when I found out that the medallists all got their hair done before the medal ceremony!
Hatti leads the Statistical Evaluation and Analytical Team in the DWP Disability and Work Division
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Postscript: Hattiís successful 2010 did
not end with the T&F championships as she returned to
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