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.
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
* * * * *
Postscript: Hattiís successful 2010 did
not end with the T&F championships as she returned to
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