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Emma Clayton Q&A

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Emma Clayton

After victory at the European Mountain Running Championships trial race, Emma Clayton will be looking to lead the senior women’s team to glory in Borovets, Bulgaria on 6 July. We caught up with her ahead of the Championships:

Q – So Emma, another major championship for Great Britain & NI is on the horizon.  How does that feel?

A – It’s amazing; it’s always a great experience to head out to any of the major championship races.  As an athlete, you always want to test yourself against the best and this gives us another opportunity to do that.  Representing Great Britain is an honour each and every time you put that vest on.

Q – Since winning the trial race up Skiddaw back in May, how has training panned out?

A – Training almost took a back seat for a couple of weeks as I had 4 weekends of big races, of which the trial was the 2nd race.  We’re now in a good block of 4 weeks to get ready for Bulgaria.  A couple of weekends ago a few of the squad met up in North Yorkshire for a hill session which Sarah Rowell organised and so that was great.  It was good to train with the girls as usually I’d do my longer hill sessions on my own and so it helped with motivation as well as giving you that little competitive edge to a training session.

Q – With a fourth place finish at the National Cross Country Championships and seventh at the Inter Counties, you seemed to enjoy your strongest winter yet.  What has been the change this year and how has this set you up for a summer on the mountains?

A – Everything seems to have just clicked this winter.  We’ve been able to get in a continuous block of training without any serious injuries (touch wood).  Obviously it’s a massive confidence boost to be able to compete at the front of big cross country races even when then ground is firm. 

Q – Whilst the majority of British runners are concentrating on track and road at this time of year, how does a mountain season differ from the norm?

A – It just what we do, it doesn’t feel any different as it’s what I’ve always known.  Sometimes it’s hard when you want to lower PB’s in certain events as usually you only get a few chances to squeeze in a track or road race during the summer.  The season itself usually starts in May and goes on until October, obviously the months where there’s no snow on the peaks.

Q – You were sixth at last years’ European Mountain Running Championships, so what’s the main aim going into the championships this year?

A – It’s hard to judge year on year as the championships alternate between up and down, and uphill only.  At the last European uphill two years ago I was tenth and so obviously I’d like to better that and if I could better the sixth place from last year that would be even better.

Q – The senior ladies won team gold last year.  How does the team look going into this years’ race?

A – Us Brits are often stronger as a unit on the up and down champs due to a fell running back ground.  Two years ago we were sixth, but on paper the team is a lot stronger than that team.  You’ve always got to look for the Swiss, Italians, Austrians and Russians as the leading teams but I believe if we all run how we’re capable of running and pack well, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be up there challenging for a medal.