Everybody was expecting the gold but Catherine Taylor is more than pleased with the 5th place in the Middle Distance and the 6th place in the Long Distance at WOC 2015. With her, we return to Scotland for the balance of a week of strong emotions.
How anxious were you, running “at home” this year? What special motivation did it give you?
Catherine Taylor (C. T.) - I was really anxious in the months before WOC. It took a huge amount of energy to deal with others’ expectations that I was out for nothing less than gold (!!!). It was hard to stick to my own plans and aims without worrying about outside pressures. On the other hand, being somewhere where you understand the mapping style, forest vegetation, language, foods etc. gave me a lot of confidence and it was motivating to have an extra-excited British team to train with.
Did you feel well prepared? What goals did you have?
C. T. - I think the whole British team felt well prepared for WOC. It was great to have a less stressful preparation over a longer time than usual. My goal was to be on the podium for one of my own races and do a good job for the team in both relays.
Would you like to talk about your 5th place in the Middle Distance and the 6th place in the Long
Distance? Did the results leave you entirely satisfied? Which one has a special meaning for you?
C. T. - A lot of people offered commiserations that I missed a medal but I more than met my goal and I’m happy with that. I’m still surprised that my best result was in the Middle race, but the Long still feels more special – the pressure was off and I just enjoyed my run.
And in the Relay? In both races, you started from a very difficult position, but you knew how to deal with the pressure, achieving high level performances. How could you manage things, especially from a psychological point of view?
C. T. - I think it helped that our aims were based on the way we wanted to run, rather than the result. Both of the first leg runners in my teams had some real bad luck, but the job for me felt the same. It’s usually easier to take a chasing position in a relay, meaning it’s always possible to regain positions and never a good idea to “give up” on the team, and with that in mind I could have a good racing attitude.
What motivation do these results provide for the future?
C. T. - The performances in both individual races were okay but not great. It still feels like I can be better. And of course, we would like to run some great relays, and working towards that as a team will be fun.
And what about the British team and the promotion to the First Division? Overall, what results would you highlight?
C. T. - It was a great team effort and we were so happy to find out! It was great that all week, we had lots of great results in the top 10 and top 20, by a lot of different people and across all the races. We had six team members running their first WOC and all of them ran well. So it was a true team effort!
How do you rate WOC 2015 from a technical and organizational point of view?
C. T. - I thought the courses I ran were challenging and fun, and the forests offered some great terrain. The most difficult part of the week was trying not to worry about all the small problems, like with logistics on some days, because you want everyone to go away with a good impression of your country. Nothing can ever run perfectly but I think things went generally well. It was a huge effort to enable a competition so much bigger than anything we’ve seen before in the UK and I’m proud of everyone who gave so much of their time and effort to make it all happen.
If I asked you for a moment - the great achievement of the Championships - what would be your choice?
C. T. - With a little bit of a bias, I’d say Annika’s Middle distance title. It takes so much inner strength and control to produce the year’s best performance on the right day. Doing it two years in a row is remarkable, and when the spring hasn’t gone smoothly, too… nerves of steel!
The season is coming to an end. What are your goals for what remains of the season?
C. T. - Now WOC is finished, I’m more exhausted than any other time I remember. I also felt tired and overstressed at times earlier this year and knew I would need a break now. So there are no plans for the autumn until I have more energy and start training again, though I have thought a little about both championships next year, which distances I would like to run and how I can train effectively.
[Photo: Ethan Childs / facebook.com]