18th December 2013

Purdue To Continue Comeback In Antrim

29 December 2013

Charlotte Purdue (coach: Mick Woods) put a nightmare two years behind her as she returned to the international fold to pick up an excellent bronze medal in the under 23 women’s race at the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, earlier this month.

The 22 year has bounced back well however, to continue a promising career that had already seen her win numerous European medals both on the track and cross country, as well as compete at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Deli, finishing fourth in the 10,000m and sixth in the 5,000m.

The next step of her comeback will come at the Antrim leg of the British Athletics Cross Challenge on Saturday where the Aldershot Farnham and District athlete is looking forward to competing at an event that she won on her last appearance there in 2011.

“It is usually a strong international field,” she said. “Last time I did it I won but I don’t know if I’m in as good shape now as I was then.

“I really like the course; that’s why I wanted to go back. It’s not flat but not hilly either – I thought it was a really good event when I did it last time. It’s a good course.

“I’m just looking to have a good run really; it’s quite short which doesn’t really work in my favour but the race in Belgrade was quite short as well so my training has been modified for the shorter cross countries and I’ll have to see who’s there and try and finish as high as I can.”

Running over 6km at the European Championships, Purdue ran superbly to finish in third place, leading the GB & NI team to gold with a total of just 19 points, the lowest score of the day. Purdue, who has now won four individual medals at the event, was pleased with her first race in British colours for 18 months.

She said: “Mick told me before the race that I’d be exceeding expectations if I won a medal but in my mind I really wanted to win one. I thought it was possible and I would have been very disappointed to come away without one. The team medal was expected but it was good that we got really low points.

“It doesn’t feel like much time had passed since the last time I ran for Great Britain, but obviously a lot has happened so it’s good to be back after all the injuries. It seemed to last forever when I was injured.”

Following such a long enforced absence, Purdue admits that she now has a more wholesome approach to training that she hopes will reduce the likelihood of further injuries.

“I’m listening to my body more,” she explained. “I don’t do as much mileage now as I used to and I do a lot more gym training and cross training on top of my running. Before that I was all about the running and although I went to the gym I didn’t spend as much time doing strength and conditioning as I do now.

Antrim represents the third leg of the British Athletics Cross Challenge following events in Bristol and Liverpool in recent months and Purdue endorses the importance of the series, insisting that she values the races highly.

She continued: “I said to Mick that I wanted to focus on the Cross Challenge but we have to see how it fits with other races. I’ve already done Liverpool and I’ll have Antrim but I would like to do the series and if it fits in I’ll definitely be doing it.”

Like so many others, Purdue has her sights set on further progress in the coming year and is hoping to compete on home turf when the Commonwealth Games come to Glasgow in July.

“In 2014 I’ll be hoping to make the England team for the Commonwealth Games in the 10,000m and I also want to run a half marathon because I’ve never done one before!”

For more information on the British Athletics Cross Challenge go to www.britishathletics.org.uk/competitions/cross-challenge