The Chase

Its that time of year again, AAA’s has gone (British Championships???) and theres still a few days left to secure you’re qualifying marks. The frenzied phone calls to meet organisers all over Europe, trying to fit 3 or 4 competitions in a week all because you know you’re in shape and just need to give yourself a chance.

European qualifying marks are here, and the deadline is this Sunday 13th June.

Does chasing ever work?

There will always be a few athletes who rise to the occasion on the final weekend, but does “the chase” ultimately result in that performance being the pinnacle of the season? A partial sacrifice of your performance at the championship in order to go?

If you’ve never been to a Championship event before, does that even matter to you? Getting to go is always going to be the first stepping stone to being competitive at that level surely?

I don’t know the stats, but how many athletes end up injuring themselves in this process? or setting up an injury which manifests in the following weeks and months?

Some athletes may have had an injury hit early season and are just rounding into form now, “run yourself into shape” they say, clearly 4 competitions in a week is just that? This statement is repeated so often that it must work (that sentence really needed a sarcasm font).

Where do I stand?

Extremely surprisingly to everyone who doesn’t read this blog (so pretty much every single person in the country), I came second at the British Championships. The first two places being eligible for automatic selection IF they have a qualification standard in the allotted window which ends on Sunday. This means, with a pb of 5.45m and a qualification standard of 5.60m I would have to pull out a 15cm before Sunday to earn a place, tough if you consider its took me the last 8 years to put that amount on my pb, the one I jumped 4 or 5 months ago, but not impossible. Having never competed at a European Championship, this would be a big deal for me.

So why didn’t I chase?

I’m in an extremely lucky situation, “the chase” was never an option for me as I know my body can’t withstand that punishment. The plan had me down to compete in Dublin this Friday (Morton Games) and then Cardiff for the Welsh Athletics International on Tuesday (2 days after the European qualification deadline). The priority has been the Commonwealth Games since I qualified and we are sticking to our guns. One competition within the qualification window, when in two weeks, I could easily have done 3 if not more. This I’ve tried before and lets just say it didn’t go so well.

I’m also extremely lucky, because only a year ago I was still only just about jogging post achilles surgery. I hadn’t run, let alone pole vaulted. I didn’t know for certain if I would ever vault again, let alone this year making the Commonwealth Games team and winning a British Champs medal both indoors and out. This lack of expectations has served me well. It also means that I know if I were to somehow jump 5.60m in Dublin I would be incredibly ecstatic to qualify this year. But even if I managed it in Cardiff 4 days later, after the deadline, I would be nearly as excited. Some people would see that as 2 days late, but I can’t help but see it as 713 days early.

Good luck to everyone shooting towards standards this weekend.

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