Hannah England on Commonwealth Games 2014: I hope for a medal but the brutality of 1500m means it's reckless to think too far ahead

The Independent columnist is keen to add to her collection of medals in Glasgow

In the past, when I opened the door at home to go training, it used to be a case of, “I wonder what the Kenyans or Americans are doing?”

I might have woken up in the morning thinking, “What’s Helen Obiri, the leading Kenyan and Commonwealth runner, doing today?” But the mentality has shifted.

The reality of what I’m up against is much more in your face with the strength in depth we now have in British middle-distance running. Now I wonder what Jess Judd and the two Lauras, Muir and Weightman, are up to.

If you’re beaten by a Kenyan, sometimes you can explain it away, but against the British girls there are just no excuses. They’ve got the same genetic make-up as me, they’re training in the same conditions, it’s one and the same.

Genuinely, I love that rivalry and it’s quite special being part of a set-up that’s got so much strength in depth – it’s exciting and competitive. It’s odd to think I’m now the older athlete of the group at 27.

I remember when it wasn’t so long ago that I had started and I was looking up to the likes of Lisa Dobriskey. I don’t think those girls do the same to me. The fact is I’m their rival so they can’t do that – they simply want to beat me on the track.

Quite where I lie right now in the pecking order will become a little bit clearer after the weekend – in fact, just around lunchtime on Monday – for my first heat of the 1500m.

People ask about expectations, and it’s not something I’m entirely sure of. Everything started late with my training this year partly because of illness but also partly because of the fact that I’m doubling up in the Commonwealths and European Championships, so I’m wanting to maintain a longer late-season peak.

The best I’ve run the distance this season is 4min 5sec and, obviously, I would love to have gone faster, but the signs are that things are coming together at just the right time. At the trials for the Europeans, I was only third and that’s hardly the inspirational sort of running that I aspire to.

My last race was an 800m and I ran a very fast time and that sort of speed should hold me in good stead come the 1500m. I should be thinking of getting in the medals if you look at my last two World Championship experiences – a silver in 2011 and fourth place last year.

 

But the brutality of the 1500m means it’s reckless to think too far ahead. At the last Games in Delhi, getting through the heats was actually quite easy. Now there is strength in depth in the UK and the Commonwealth, meaning a place in the final is by no means guaranteed, although I’ve run enough major-championship heats to know I have the tactical wherewithal to get through.

Delhi was an interesting experience. I got struck down by the notorious Delhi belly and was in an apartment where the toilet broke. I know people panicked a bit when news of the norovirus broke here in Glasgow but that’s nothing in comparison with Delhi! I still loved the experience, as I did Melbourne four years previously when I only went as a 19-year-old spectator.

Glasgow has been different. For the first time in my life, I experienced an opening ceremony. I toyed with the pros and cons of going, being on my feet for so long and up for so late and I nearly bottled it and gave it a miss. I’m grateful I didn’t. It was incredible to be a part of and to see Chris Hoy and the Queen.

The one thing I’ve not managed to do yet is meet Sir Bradley Wiggins. As far as I can work out, I’m about the only person I know who hasn’t met him in Glasgow.

As for my own performance, I appreciate there’s little I can do to alter how I’m going to be on race day. I’m confident enough to know not to do too much in training now except to give furtive glances to the Kenyans when they’re out running in training at the same time as me.

Then there’s the matter of my husband, Luke [Gunn], who’s also in the England team competing in the 3,000m steeplechase. The apartments are single-sex so we’re obviously not sharing here as I guess you can’t suddenly have a random man loitering around the women’s quarters!

Instead I’m sharing with Jess but it’s great having Luke here as a voice of reason. Not many people get to compete with their husband for their country at a Commonwealth Games. It’s a very special feeling. Hopefully, we’ll have something to celebrate next week.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions