Wiltshire Publications

Westbury runner wins Silver with Team GB at European Half Marathon Championship

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 at 9:31 am.

Westbury’s Fiona Price returned to winning form, as a member of Team GB (FV50) who won silver in the European Half Marathon Championship race in Alicante on 20th May.

Her success comes after  a rocky two years, hindered with illness and stress fractures.

Fiona says as we get older the majority of runners accept their times will slip. But as a very late starter to running (aged 40) she is still hopeful to get the odd personal best (PB) time.

She feels quite young to the sport and is inspired by achievements in Avon Valley Runners and throughout Great Britain. You often hear her say “If someone in my age has achieved this, then it is possible! This is a fact that inspires her every time she competes in a Masters European or Masters World Championship.

Joining Fiona to represent Team GB (FV50) in Alicante were Karen Rushton and Susan McDonald. Fiona was also joined in the race by AVR clubmate Clare Wood, in her first international competition competing for Great Britain in a different team to Fiona. Clare embraced the pressure and the huge manual of new rules that goes with it. It was a very competitive race and she nailed a PB.

Talking about her race day experience, Fiona said, “Events that I’ve competed in previously have always been split by gender, but Spain was hosting and to create a much bigger atmosphere, they mixed the men and the women with their City Half runners.

“There were no pens but we managed to shuffle forward through the crowds and plant ourselves very near the front. Surrounded by taller runners all talking in their own language was quite daunting and it soon became apparent that when the gun went off, we would need the use of elbows to avoid being crushed!

“The gun went off and as predicted, it was feisty! I immediately clocked that Spain was running in groups and looking out for their athletes, we counted back and tipped each other off to avoid being drafted. For these competitions you wear your age group on the front and back of your race kit, so the idea is to get past as many as you can in your age group, but not too early on! It does feel like the longest interval session ever.

“I’m not going to lie, from 4 miles I knew it was going to be tough, but I absolutely loved the challenge. It was 24 degrees and the two-lap course had a long hill in it. At one point I was behind a FV45 who’d just been tipped off I was gaining on her. She made several efforts to pull away and try and look back to check my age group, but I’d tucked in right behind her so she couldn’t see to be sure. I passed her and she sighed “50!”

“I was busy in my head trying to process where Clare was on the course. I spotted her and knew she’d pass her as well. I had a quick smile!

“A bit of added pressure, but most welcome was (our husbands) Sean and Richard, supporting around the course. After the half-way mark, Sean had been able to calculate where we were, and in his very quiet retiring voice [former Westbury Town Crier!] he screamed at me to say “You’re gonna get on the podium, come on!!” On paper it looked like we might get a bronze, but I can’t tell you how elated I was to score for the team and bag silver! My emotions caught me out briefly on the finish line as I realised what had just happened.

“I really couldn’t have done this without the support I’ve had from Sean, my coach Martin, all my friends and family, Southwick Country parkrun and our AVR family.”

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