Big step for Emily Moyes with U23 spot in national team
Emily Moyes had never competed in an 8km race before the European Trials, and yet today she flies out as part of Team GB for this weekend’s European U23 Cross Country Championships.
The 20-year-old from Stowmarket may have been a surprise qualifier, but that has not stopped her from now targeting a great finish at the European Championships in Tilburg in the Netherlands.
“I was so pleased,” she said. “It doesn’t seem real still and it’s a very strange feeling actually.
“I never thought I would get into a cross country race at international standard – but now I am, I really, really want top 20.”
The St Mary’s University student is normally more comfortable on the track or road as a steeplechaser, but decided to try out for the international event for the ‘experience’.
And, surprising even herself, the former West Suffolk Athletics Club member finished fifth to qualify for the six-member team at the British Athletics Cross Challenge event in Liverpool on November 24.
“It’s my first time with the Under-23 Team GB squad as well, which is very exciting,” she said.
“It’s definitely a big step for me, even if it is in an event I don’t normally do. It’s really hard work running on mud!
“Actually, I think of cross country as my weak event and yet I have an international team spot, that gives me a lot of confidence and hope for a senior career.
“It was a great atmosphere in Liverpool for the race, I found myself battling for sixth as we got to the area with the crowds and then caught up to fifth in the final section.
“There were so many people screaming at me to catch up and finish in fifth. Four qualified automatically and then two more at selectors’ discretion from all over, but, chances are, fifth is also in. And it was.”
She also revealed she is gunning for a team medal, as she is desperate to prove certain detractors wrong about the team’s quality.
“Some people have said the team aren’t as strong as normal,” she said.
“And I’m determined to prove those people wrong.
“There have been a lot of injuries that has affected the team, so there are a lot of us that have been thrown in at the deep end.
“But that doesn’t mean we don’t have the skills and ability to still run well.
“And it also means we have a team that have something to prove, so there’s plenty of pressure to drive us on.
“If I can do well at U23 level then there’s only seniors above that, I feel really pleased by this step.”
The event, on Sunday, will be the 25th edition of the annual international race.
Tilburg played host back in 2005 but the course will be different this year.