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mullett on steeplechase ambitions 

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24 June 2016 

This weekend’s British Championships in Birmingham will see 3000m steeplechase specialist Rob Mullett (coach: David Leach) compete at the Alexander Stadium in a bid to retain his British title, with a second Olympic qualifying time also in the reckoning.

Mullett’s name was one that disappeared from start-lists and results pages alike during the second half of 2013 as a broken foot sustained at the European Team Championships in Gateshead kept the 28 year old out for the best part of a year, with 2014 seeing Mullett race competitively just six times as he eased himself back onto the track.

In his continued comeback and return to form, 2015 saw Mullett claim the title of British Champion in Birmingham, with a then personal best following just a couple of weeks later at London’s Anniversary Games.

Speaking on his injury lay-off, Mullett reflected: “The day I picked it up competing was definitely frustrating but it’s also been a huge motivator. I think coming out of it I’m a lot stronger than previously, especially physically with the amount of gym work I’ve done as I basically started from scratch, so in the long-run it’s probably actually been a positive. It was a total freak accident but it’s helped me become a better athlete in the long-term, so I can’t argue too much with it.”

With one Olympic standard under his belt so far Mullett will once again go on the hunt for the required second this coming weekend in Birmingham, although the Lewes athlete is looking to make the most of competing in the Championships for title purposes foremost having had to miss out on the opportunity to compete at the British Championships in previous years.

“They’ve certainly been a little mixed, obviously last year was a really good experience, and previous to that I was third in the 2012 championships which was an okay experience - I kind of felt like I could have won that year but it was also nice to be on the podium for the first time. I certainly went away very motivated from that race. Obviously I missed 2013 and 2014 due to being injured, so the Championships have been a very much all or nothing experience for me over the last four years.

“Certainly the big focus is going to be winning the Championships this year, ultimately and most importantly it’s about being in the top two in terms of Olympic selection, but it’s also fun to be able to race for a British title, especially as I never really got the chance to do it as a junior. So I’d like to win the title for winning the titles sake and then worry about an Olympic qualification time if and when, be it Saturday or in the following weeks.”

Indianapolis serves as Mullett’s home from home for the majority of the year for work and training purposes, with the Championships offering the opportunity to compete on home soil, something of a boost leading into a big summer.

“I really like training over in Indianapolis, there are a lot of great facilities and a good number of people running and training at a pretty high level, generally it just seems to work for me and I really enjoy living there.

“In saying that, I really like coming back. It’s always good to see a lot of people I’ve not seen for a while but I also like just being back in Britain. I wouldn’t say I miss it when I’m going about my day to day life but when I’m back here I always think ‘it’s good to be back’ – especially from a competition point of view.”

Mullett’s first Olympic qualifying standard came last month in California, whilst he also revised his personal best in the process, taking a near nine seconds off his previous record. With ambitions to compete at this summer’s European Championships as well as the Olympic Games, Mullett is striving to build on the promising form he has shown so far this season, although he admits his primary aim on the back of his previous injury is to simply enjoy competing as much as possible.

“I would like to run at European Championships if possible but other than that I’m taking it week by week, especially with what it seems can change regarding qualifying for the Olympics or not as well. I’d also like to find a couple of opportunities to run a couple of 1500m and a 5000m, just something different to the steeplechasing.

“I ran at the European Championships in 2012 – they were the start for me in terms of representing the British team, so I went into 2013 not expecting to make the world-team, but knowing I had a pretty good shot due my form, so although the injury was obviously disappointing, it helped to reset my thinking to enjoy competing more. I train very hard and take it very seriously but the injury taught me to not worry about the outcome so much – just enjoy racing and being healthy, so that’s what I try to do at the very least.”

You can follow Rob’s journey @Mullett_Rob

For tickets to the British Championships visit http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/2016_Athletics_Season