Jim’s European Adventure Comes to a Happy Ending

Day 10: A very strange day as the 200m finals were in the evening and for the 1st time at a major champs I had my roomie, good friend and training partner in the same race. Therefore there was an intense nervousness all day until it was time to race. We obviously wished each other luck but all the time were concentrating on our own goals. He was in the lane outside of me and I had to concentrate not to get into a race just with him and remember about the other 6 athletes in the field. They often say the best races are the ones you can’t remember as you are so focused. For me this was one of those occasions. The only time I remember any of it was probably the last 20m or so when I was battling with the Dane inside of me as seen:

It set up a great finish to the race and I ended up with a bronze medal and a big seasons best time so I was extremely happy and can now say I’m ranked 3rd in Europe. 1st place 22.86s, 2nd place 22.95s and 3rd 23.01s, I couldn’t quite dip under the 23second barrier but was pleased nonetheless! Unfortunately my roomie pulled up with a tight Achilles and hobbled over the line but the physios were soon on hand to stick needles in him and get him ready for the relays on the final day!

The medal ceremony followed soon after as the Dane had to catch a flight 2.5hrs later so we were rushed through and I was proud to pick up an individual medal for TeamGB

For dinner that evening I treated myself to a hefty and wonderful steak washed down with a couple of beers! NB it is allowable for athletes to have a drink every now and then, apparently it’s good for you!!

Day 11: The final day of competition rolls around and we can’t believe it’s come round this fast!! The day is full of Relays for all age groups and both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays are run throughout the day. There was extra rivalry once again in the room as the M35 and M40 age group relays were going to be running in the same race due to lack of teams and the older M40’s were playing as many mind games as possible with the ‘youngsters’ to make them think about it too much!!
In the line up there were 4 M35 teams and 4 M40 teams, GB ‘youngsters’ were in lane 3 and we were in lane 9 so theoretically we were their rabbits to be chased. Turned out the rabbits were quicker and we won the whole race and therefore beat our younger team by 1/10th of a second!! We both pick up gold medals due to different age groups, however, the ribbing has lasted well over 24hrs so far and will continue for many more about the fact that the youngsters lost to the oldies and we even had an athlete from the next age up!!!

We had about 5 hours of downtime before we had to go again in the 4x400m relay so after some treatment we set off for some lunch and then back to the track for the final hoorah! Unfortunately in the mornings relay our lead-off runner had pulled his hamstring so was unable to start the last race of the champs. We drafted in our reserve, a steeple chaser, for the first leg and the rest of the team remained the same with me on the anchor leg. Once again there were 4 in our age group in the final and with a considerably weakened team we thought as long as we can keep one of the teams behind us we can pick up a medal. After legs 1 & 2 we were in third place and I was thinking maybe that was it but after leg 3 we’d moved up into 2nd and it was left to me on the last leg. The Italians in front were just too far away and I was unable to catch them so we settled for a silver which was better than we’d predicted anyway and to be honest we were all happy we’d actually made it round a full lap!!

So at the end of another great European Championships I managed to come away with a full house of medals and no injuries so am very pleased and it has incentivised me in to potentially entering the World Champs next year in Lyon, France.
Signing off now for this year, hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this blog and if so I might be coerced into doing another when I next go off competing.
Thanks for reading and being interested!

Jim

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