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UK Athletics

gorecka targets liverpool cross challenge

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27 November 2014

Emelia Gorecka (coach: Mick Woods) has so far made light work of her transition from junior to senior ranks qualifying for both the Commonwealth Games & European Championships where she finished eight and ninth respectively. But now the ‘cross country girl’ approaches another winter of running on the muddy courses, and looks ahead to the British Athletics Cross Challenge event in Liverpool on the 29 November.

The 20 year old has enjoyed a lot of success in cross country events throughout her junior career - she was the European Cross Country junior women’s champion in 2011 and 2013. But now, after what seemed like a never ending junior career, she makes the step up to the U23 age group which is new territory for the Royal Holloway University psychology student. In Liverpool, she will compete for the first time in the senior women’s race, which incorporates the U23’s and Gorecka is focused on booking her place on the GB & NI team for the European Cross Country Championships in Bulgaria this December.

“It’ll be a big step up to the senior event as I’ve competed as a junior at these cross country events since I was 16 but it’ll be a great experience against girls I’ve never raced before. It’s important for me to get a lot more training under my belt and try and make that transition as a senior and U23”, said Gorecka.

“I’ve always loved racing on the country and always look forward to it every year – I’ve always seen myself as a cross country girl.”

The Aldershot Farnham & District athlete has already competed in domestic cross country relays this winter for her club, and says that cross country events have a unique atmosphere which she enjoys every year.

“I love it because every course is different and the atmosphere is great. People can watch you in several different places; they are sprinting across the course to see you in different spots. It’s a great atmosphere to be a part of.”

Her main aim will be to qualify for the Great Britain & Northern Ireland U23 team which flies out to Bulgaria shortly before Christmas. This will require a good performance over the 8.1km course at Sefton Park in Liverpool this weekend and despite her junior success, Gorecka is not getting complacent ahead of the trip to Samokov.

“I just want to qualify first, I never think too far ahead. If I qualify I’ll see how it goes during the race. I think the course is supposed to be slightly hillier and more undulating than usual, and it depends who is there on the day.”

The 2013 European Junior 3000m gold medallist has stepped up to the senior ranks on the track this year, competing at both the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the European Championships in Zurich over the 5000m. She admits that neither race went as she had planned but realises that these valuable experiences will help her in the rest of her career.

“I didn’t get the result I wanted from either the Commonwealth Games or the European Championships but in terms of the season as a whole I made some big leaps which I was really happy with.

“I think it was a really positive transition especially with my times (a new 5000m PB of 15:07.45 this year) but then to go onto the British Championships and win there was exciting, and great to take part against the senior athletes, especially Jo (Pavey).”

At the Sainsbury’s British Championships in June, Gorecka beat Pavey to the domestic 5000m title in a thrilling sprint finish, a couple of months before the latter’s inspirational track success in Glasgow and Zurich. It gave her great confidence going into her first senior championships and she will seek to build upon her efforts this year ahead of the 2015 season.

“I think that was one of the best races of my season. Running quickly is fantastic but learning to race tactically was really promising. To get a win against someone like Jo was fantastic and it definitely gave me confidence going into the rest of the summer season. I think going into 2015 it was an important stepping stone as well.”

You can follow Emelia’s progress through the winter via @emeliagorecka