WHILE Katie Brough stands waiting for the start of the senior women’s race in the SPAR European Cross Country Championships this weekend, she can contemplate accomplishing a remarkable mission.
Dressed in Great Britain’s colours, the Vale Royal Athletics Club star will realise a long-held dream.
Not bad for a runner who only returned to racing two years ago following almost a decade away from athletics.
“When you’re older the desire is greater to achieve what you want,” said the 31-year-old.
“Perhaps it’s because you realise there is less time.
“I ran for England as a junior, and that was a big deal. However I didn’t have the motivation to keep going. It’s different now.
“This whole year has been about making the team, so it’s a great feeling to make it.”
Brough is part of a 36-strong Great Britain and Northern Ireland squad that heads to Belgrade on Friday.
She was sixth to finish a trial race at Liverpool last week, fourth senior woman, but still faced an anxious wait to discover if she would became the latest Vale Royal endurance runner to represent her country.
A phone call on Tuesday confirmed her selection.
Brough said: “I was fairly confident as I’d done what was asked and finished in the top six at the trials. Mind you I had started to get edgy by the end of Monday when I’d heard nothing.
“I’m happier now, and am excited at being part of such a strong senior women’s line-up. It’s going to be a great experience.”
She quit running to start a family, resuming her career at home town club Warrington in 2011.
By the end of the following year, her form during the winter had secured a spot in Great Britain’s team for the BUPA Great Edinburgh International Cross Country match.
But her long-term coach, Mike Hancock, died before seeing his protégé race in Scotland.
A switch to Vale Royal then followed to work with former international middle-distance runner Andy Carter.
Brough said: “The move has worked out brilliantly, and is a big reason why I’ve been so successful this year.
“It’s important to have a good relationship with a coach, and to trust that he is guiding you in the right direction.
“I’ve not been a member for long, but I feel like part of a family. They lift me when I’m down, and are the loudest supporters when things have gone well.”
Brough races in Serbia tomorrow, Sunday.