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Suffolk athlete Moyes targets top-20 finish at European Championships

PUBLISHED: 16:33 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:33 05 December 2018

Emily Moyes, who hopes to finish in the top 20 at the European Cross Country Championships this weekend. Picture: PAGEPIX

Emily Moyes, who hopes to finish in the top 20 at the European Cross Country Championships this weekend. Picture: PAGEPIX

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Emily Moyes, who will be running for Great Britain at the European Cross Country Championship this weekend, insists that she doesn’t even particularly like cross country!

FLASHBACK: A young Emily Moyes (No. 3), on her way to second place and a silver mdeal in the steeplechase at the English Schools Championships in Gateshead, in 2015.FLASHBACK: A young Emily Moyes (No. 3), on her way to second place and a silver mdeal in the steeplechase at the English Schools Championships in Gateshead, in 2015.

Suffolk athlete Moyes feels more at home on the track, rather than on a muddy cross country circuit, but she ran out-of-her-skin to qualify for this Sunday’s big European event, to be staged at Tilburg in the Netherlands, at the previous weekend’s Trials in Liverpool.

Moyes finished fifth under-23 at the European Trials, incorporated within the British Athletics Cross Challenge event at Liverpool, and is now targeting a top-20 finish in the under-23 women’s race at Tilburg.

“At the start of the season, it was in the back of my mind, trying to qualify for the European Championships,” said Moyes,

“But as the season progressed, and my coach (Mick Woods) and I saw those who had not entered and weren’t going to be there, we thought that I would have a good shot at it.

Emily Moyes, in action during the European Trials at the British Athletics Cross Challenge meeting at Liverpool.Emily Moyes, in action during the European Trials at the British Athletics Cross Challenge meeting at Liverpool.

“It was a fast and furious course at Liverpool. I had prayed all week that it would stay dry, because that would give me the best chance of qualifying. I don’t like it when it is muddy.

“In fact, it is well-known that I don’t like cross country!” added Moyes, who is from Stowmarket.

The 20-year-old, who was a member of local club Stowmarket Striders before switching to West Suffolk AC to concentrate on the track, from about the age of 14, had to battle to the line to secure automatic qualification.

“What I was aiming for was an outright automatic spot, which would have meant finishing in the top four. I was aiming high,” explained Moyes.

“We were running with the senior women, who were doing 8K, and it ended up getting really intense, especially on the last big lap – there was one small lap and then two big laps.

“I was in sixth spot, but the seventh girl was next to me, running alongside.

“We were battling so hard that we ended up catching the fifth-placed girl (Hannah Viner), so effectively there was all three of us vying for two places during the last 800 metres. I managed to get fifth, and the sixth girl didn’t end up getting selected.

“We were aware of our positions in the race, because the coaches were shouting it out. The under-23s were also supposed to wear a bib on their back, though not all of them did.

“Now I’m looking forward to this weekend.

“The Tilburg course is around a safari park. It will be flat, with a few little man-made hills and logs, which shouldn’t be a problem with my steeplechasing background!

“My target is a top 20 finish, while also helping the girls to challenge for team medals.

“Great Britain usually does well with regards winning team medals in this competition.”

There will be two Suffolk athletes in action at the European Championships this weekend, with Jack Miller representing Great Britain in the under-23 men’s race.

Ironically, both Moyes and Millar, of Ipswich Harriers, come from a steeplechasing background on the track, with Moyes flourishing under coaches David Cripps and Gordon Palmer on the West Suffolk Arena track in Bury St Edmunds.

“They drove me around the country so that I could do steeplechase, and I admit that I prefer track to cross country,” continued Moyes.

“My best friend, Bronwyn Jacobs, and I were in the same training group (at West Suffolk), but we weren’t the best runners (on the flat) in the group, so turning to steeplechase literally boosted my athletics career.

“I didn’t run cross country too much, apart from at school events, but I won two medals on the track at the English Schools Championships,” added Moyes, with reference to her silver medal in 2015, and a bronze in 2016, both achieved in the steeplechase event, and both held at Gateshead.

The following year, Moyes also ran for Great Britain abroad, for the first time, at the European Athletics Under-20 Chams in Grosseto, Italy, this time in the 3,000m steeplechase.

Moyes, and fellow Suffolk athlete Millar, will travel as part of a 40-strong Great Britain squad to the Netherlands on Friday.

“I think my cross country season will end after the Europeans,” explained Moyes, who is a third year sports science student at St Mary’s University in Twickenham.

“I will be aiming to compete indoors over 3K, hopefully at the British Championships next February. I’d also like to win the British Universities title. I’ve won it twice in steeplechase, but now I’d like to do it on the flat,” concluded Moyes, who switched clubs to Aldershot, Farnham & District just two weeks ago.

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