This is number 2 in a series by Stuart Weir on Eilidh Doyle!
Eilidh Doyle best career memories
What moment in your career are you proudest of?
Interesting that you say proudest. I think my greatest achievement was winning the gold medal at European Championships in Zurich 2014, off the back of the Commonwealth Games. I would see that as my best performance – obviously not my fastest performance. But to be able to go there, physically and mentally, and deliver makes it my best performance.
thleticsBut my proudest moment would, I think, be being voted GB Team captain by the team in London 2017. It was the first time the British Athletics had got the athletes to vote for the team captain and I was blindsided by that. I didn’t expect it at all. So to get the phone call saying that I had been voted captain by the team was my proudest moment – perhaps alongside being voted for by the team to carry the flag for Scotland in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. There have been a lot of highlights but I think that is my proudest moment.
What do you regard as your best ever race technically?
This answer may not be the one that most people would expect but I would say the Glasgow Diamond League race in 2014, a week before the Commonwealth Games. In 2014 I was really solid with my stride pattern and quite consistent. I had my stride pattern down to a tee and it was working well. And in Glasgow I was in the shape to be bang on the money for that stride pattern. Because when it came to the Commonwealth Games and Zurich I was just a little bit between strides as I had got a little bit faster – we were peaking for the Commonwealth Games and the European championships. So as I was getting a little faster, I had to chop a little and be a little safer with my stride. And I was in perfect condition for that stride pattern at the Diamond League but a little too quick for later in the season.
What about the 54.09 in Monaco 2016?
Monaco was the perfect race until the final hurdle. I just put in an extra stride over the last hurdle. What surprised me in Monaco was the way I won the race. I didn’t doubt that I would run that fast. I really don’t have regrets looking back but if I did have one, it would be that I didn’t go sub 54 that night. And I think that had I not put in that extra stride at the last hurdle I would have done it. What did surprise me about that race, was the way I won it because there were a lot of athletes of high quality – so to be able to go onto the track and go out and win it and not be intimidated by the other athletes, because I remember when I first started running Diamond Leagues you look to the other athletes and you’re just hoping not to be too far behind to keep your pride. So to go from there to be winning Diamond League races was quite significant. It was massive for me. I remember feeling the same when I won in Doha, my first race of the season. Monaco was one of my favorite tracks and though I didn’t run my best technical race it is still one of my favorite races
What is your biggest disappointment?
That’s an interesting question because I don’t like to have regrets. I think my biggest disappointment was the European Championship 2018. There was doubt in my mind because I had just come back off an injury. I hadn’t had many races before the Europeans and the races had been quite poor. Then I had a really good run in the heats and I think that changed my expectations going into the final. And I got too caught up with everything around me and I hit a hurdle. It’s the only time I’ve ever stepped off the track feeling utterly gutted. Afterwards I could be logical about it and recognize the amount of training I had missed. Because I was an athlete who didn’t get injured very much, I didn’t understand what it would be like after missing blocks of training. I assumed that I would step on the track and things would fall into place. The disappointment is that I should have been able to do more within that final and be on the podium.
You competed in two championships in Scotland and three in England, was that special?.
I feel so lucky with that. I don’t think many people can say that. To have one major championship in your home country is fantastic. So to have had London 2012 Olympics in itself was tremendous but then two years later to have the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was something else. And then to have the opportunity to go back to the Olympic stadium for the World Championships which were extra special for me because I was chosen to be the team captain. When you’re going through it you don’t realize how lucky you are to have those opportunities because it’s just a stage in your career and you have to align with where the competitions are. And then to have a World and European indoors. But is not just having these competitions but being able to win medals at them and to do laps of honor. 2017 was amazing and Glasgow 2014 was incredibly special. Then Birmingham World Indoors to win an individual 400 meter medal in front of a home crowd. Those are all moments that I think I won’t appreciate until the next generation and seeing that they’re not getting as many home championships as my generation got
In Glasgow 2014 what was it like having your face everywhere on billboards?
Just nuts really. I took it quite lightheartedly. It might have been different if I’ve been living in Scotland but I was down in Bath so I didn’t see it as regularly as my family did.
I remember on the podium in Zurich 2014 – while I can be quite emotional when it comes to athletics I am usually quite focused and quite serious. But I remember standing on the podium in Zurich, with the reaction to winning, and in a way everything just coming to a head, – off the back of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, going to the European Championships in Zurich and being able to win the gold medal and I just cried on the podium. As I came off, I remember everyone was very surprised but I think it was almost as if I had been holding my breath for the previous three months and now it was “it’s over. I’ve done it” and I probably hadn’t realized how much stress I had been carrying throughout the Commonwealths and the Europeans
You ran in four global finals – how you assess your performance in them?
2013 World Championships – Fourth in 54.86
2015 World Championships – Sixth in 54.78
2016 Olympics – Eighth 54.71
2017 World Championships – Eighth 55.71
I look back on most of them fairly satisfied. I think the one that I regret, where I think I could have done better was Moscow. My hurdling was a bit erratic. When I moved down to Bath to work with Malcolm Arnold, he had to work hard on the bad habits I had with hurdling. I was quite a rogue hurdler and I used to stutter quite a lot without realizing that I was stuttering. I think Malcolm used to pull his hair out watching me because he could see me making all these errors, which were losing me so much time but which I didn’t really acknowledge. In Moscow 2013 – and I’ve now been upgraded to fourth – I see as a missed opportunity where I could have been on the podium had I just nailed that race a bit better. Beijing and London I pretty much executed my race as I could. Rio was a funny one because I pretty much ran what had been running all year. I made no errors but everyone else raised their game. That is what happens in the Olympics. People step up. I remember coming off the track feeling confused: “how was I eighth in that final? How was everyone else ahead of me?” I spoke to Malcolm and he said “you didn’t do anything wrong, just everyone else ran better”. And unfortunately that is the sport that we love. That’s what happens but it always takes me by surprise. I know pretty much what I will run but the Olympics brings out an extra drive in people and those are the athletes who can step up and go to an extra level. Dai Greene would be someone who would always be level, level, level and then come the champs would just be able to raise his game again and again. Sara Petersen was another example who did that.