This is Stuart Weir’s favorite type of article. Stuart likes us to learn about athletes that we really do not know about.
Unsung British heroes!
How do you measure success? Jake Wightman won the 1500m gold medal. Laura Muir has gained medals at the Olympics and World Championships. Both are the culmination of years of experience of competing at major championships. What about athletes who came to Oregon with no chance of a medal but who performed better than they could have expected?
Aimee Pratt went to Oregon as the number 2 British Steeplechase runner. She ran a PB/NR of 9:18.91 to reach the final, where she finished seventh in another national record, this time 9:15.64. Not a medal winner, but you cannot ask more of anyone that a national record – or two!
She said after the race: “I’m just a bit overwhelmed! I don’t know what’s just happened! I knew it was going to go out really hard, so I just tried to be sensible and work my way back to the field, which I feel like I did quite well. I just tried to run a sensible race.
“I’ve been dying for a race like that for a long time. Those races don’t come by very often, and I wanted to make sure I took the opportunity when it came. I wanted to finish top eight, and I’m still quite early on in my career. A steeplechase is a mature event; you can’t rush the event; you need the years on years, but I think I am at a good place in my career right now, and in the next few years, I’m expecting to step up a lot”.
400m runner, Victoria Ohuruogu, ran 52.71 in 2014 but then did not run sub 53 again for 7 years. Now, under the guidance of their older sister (Olympic and World champion) Christine, she ran 50.99 and missed the final by 0.34 seconds. She commented on her journey: “I’ve taken the time to strip everything back and kind of go back to basics. I’ve focused on my weaknesses and worked on those. And really, I’ve had a clearer headspace which has been better than previous years”.
Alex Haydock-Wilson was disappointed with his run in the mixed relay and took out his frustration with two excellent runs in the individual 400, for which he was a late entry. He ran a PR of 45.08 in the semi-final, missing the final by 0.11 seconds. His assessment was: “That was everything I wanted it to be and more. It was fun and exciting, I got to run with some of my heroes, and I PB’d. I cannot be happier. These are the guys I’ve grown up looking at and wondering how they did it, and now I’ve done the thing I thought was impossible for so long. It’s all been hard work, belief, and perseverance”.
No medals but excellent performances.