Steeplechase prospect Emily Moyes returned from the European Athletics Under-20 Championships with a ‘big grin’ after achieving her aim of making the final.
Competing against the best youngsters in Europe, 19-year-old Moyes was determined to enjoy her first taste of an international contest and get the most from the experience.
The West Suffolk Athletics Club (WSAC) athlete travelled with Team GB to the event in Grosseto in Italy and said the camaraderie was a wonderful addition.
“It was the first time I had competed in Europe, and with a whole team,” she said.
“And there was a great spirit, everyone was supporting each other and picking each other up if you were disappointed.
“It was also the first time I had shared a room with someone and that was great fun.”
Moyes, who studies at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, said that despite the ‘great experience’ she was disappointed with her time.
She finished her heat in 0.01th of a second off her personal best, in a time of 10 minutes, 27 seconds and 16 milliseconds, which frustrated her.
“I was so annoyed not to get a PB at the time,” she said.
“But being so close is a good thing, I can see that now.
“It’s positive that I can run at my best in major competitions, so there’s a lot to be happy about.
“Normally you only run one steeplechase but we ran two in three days, it took a lot out of me.
“And it was a test, a learning curve of what it’s like at big competitions.
“The call room was silent, which was quite intimidating actually, there’s normally a lot of chat.
“But everyone speaks different languages, not necessarily English, and it was a very different experience.
“A lot of the girls have experience racing each other at these events so my coach and I agreed that my goal was to make the final.
“But it wasn’t easy, I finished my heat in seventh, with the first five automatically making the final, so I had a nervous wait.”
She said she ran in the first of two heats, often a disadvantage for fastest losers as the second heat has a time target.
“I’m really pleased with my result,” she said. “I went into the final in 14th place on time and I finished 11th.
“And it’s about building on that experience now to get better and better.
“I would love to make the team for the Under-23 Championship in 2019, that’s the next major goal I think.”
In the meantime, Moyes will take part in a 3000m steeplechase at the Manchester International on August 16, where she hopes to be able to produce a quick time.
“I’m aiming for the record,” she said. “The U20 record, because I’m currently second on the list and I want to upgrade that to first.
“It’s going to be hard but I’m having a good summer and I know I can do it.”