British runner Charlotte Purdue celebrated both fifth-place success and a new personal best of 1:08:10 at Sunday’s Great North Run, ahead of the upcoming world championships in Doha.
“The race wasn’t my big goal, as obviously I’m going to the world championships in two and a half weeks,” Purdue told us during a brief moment of quiet in her busy training schedule. “I was excited about it, but I couldn’t really relax and celebrate!”
Her determination as an athlete is evident, as she explains that she’ll be back in training after just a day’s rest following the weekend’s half marathon.
Purdue knew from the off that a PB could be in reach on 8 September: “I felt pretty good in the last few weeks of training, and my coach told me that I could do it. I was just hoping that the race would go out at a good pace and that I’d have people to run with.”
The other runners were one aspect that Purdue couldn’t control but, as fate would have it, she spotted a couple of familiar Australian faces. Purdue had trained with both runners before, spending three months a year in Australia with her coach, a native, and had even trained for her impressive London Marathon performance with one of them.
She explained the importance of having someone to keep pace with: “I knew that they both had faster personal bests than me, so I knew they’d be good people to run with. Especially for the first half – all the Kenyan [runners] went off much faster and I knew I didn’t want to go as fast as them, but I also didn’t want to go too slow. It really helped.”
In fact, the Kenyan women’s team dominated the top four female finishers, with Brigid Kosgei breaking a world record and finishing in first place, with 1:07:36.
For Purdue, a full-time athlete who runs online coaching company Purdue Performance with her partner alongside running, Sunday’s race could be the boost she needs to dominate at the world championships, which begin on 26 September. She’s currently putting her all into training for the event: “For the last month I’ve been running about 120 miles a week. So, a lot! This week will still be quite a big week, but then the week before race week and race week itself I’ll start to do a lot less.”
Her performance at the world championships will help decide whether she’ll qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. “I already have the qualifier for that, so it’s just seeing if I get selected or if I have to run the trial next year at the London Marathon. I’ll find that out later in the year and that will determine much of my plans for next year.”
Does she have any further plans? “I don’t think I’ll be doing very much! Coming off London Marathon and going straight back into another one is quite hard, so, especially with next year being quite a big year, I want to have a decent break. I don’t think I’ll race again, or if I do then just for fun – nothing serious!”
Good luck, Charlotte – we’ll be rooting for you!