Richard Goodman achieved a remarkable victory in the GB trial race for the European Under 20 Cross Country Championships over 6.7 km in Liverpool.
Always comfortable in the leading group, Goodman, 16, broke away in the last 200 metres to win by four seconds. A measure of his achievement is that runner-up James Wilkinson is three years his senior and six seconds faster over 1500 metres, while further down the field, Simon Horsfield, 19, has a 3:41.77 1500m time that is equivalent to a sub-4-minute mile.
Goodman will now join the GB team for the European Championships in Dublin on December 13.
Goodman said: “After my performance in the National Cross Country Relays a month ago, where I was third fastest Under 20, I realised that I could challenge for a place on the GB team for the Europeans. I decided to prepare by taking a break from competition and stepped up my training from 40 to 60 miles a week.
“In my quality track sessions, my coach and I concentrated on developing the sudden changes of pace needed to respond to any break that other runners might throw in. For the last week I tapered down my training, and really felt good on the day.
“In the race itself, I was expecting a very fast start, but actually I felt quite relaxed in the group of seven that broke away from the field early on. I realised that I just needed to beat one of this group to secure my place on the team. Mud was flying everywhere and the conditions were quite dangerous. At the end of the first lap a couple of the favourites stepped up the pace which cut the leading group down to four, but I still felt comfortable. Once I turned into the final straight I just took off – it felt amazing.”