BICESTER middle-distance runner Sophie Tyers admits she surprised even herself after destroying the 1,500m field at the BUCS Gatorade Nationals.
Normally an 800m runner, Tyers tried her hand at the longer distance – and it turns out she’s a natural.
Representing Loughborough University, the 22-year-old blasted to victory in a time of 4mins 19.86secs, just 0.18 seconds away from the championships record.
It is all the more remarkable considering an Achilles injury has hindered the last two years for the Radley AC member and Tyers now can’t wait to see what the future holds.
“I’m very proud, I had no idea I could do that,” said the former Bloxham School pupil.
“This is my second-ever indoors 1500m apart from the heat so I didn’t really know what to expect.
“My coach just said just run fast but no targets, and I didn’t really think I would have the speed because I’ve been training over long distances this winter, so I really enjoyed it.
“I don’t know what’s next for me because I’ve just come off the back of two really rough years with injury.
“I had serious Achilles problems in my left foot and only now over the winter have I started training again. I couldn’t have an operation last summer; I just had to wait for the pain to go.”
Success was not just limited to the track, as Wallingford’s Lucy Murray picked up a first-ever women’s boxing medal for Northumbria University.
The final was one step too far for the 20-year-old – after defeat to Aberdeen’s Lorna Gater – having first tried her hand at the sport 18 months ago.
However, Murray insists she can take plenty of positives from her first experience at the nationals and has vowed to keep plugging away.
“I’m really glad I’ve done it,” she said. “It’s a great experience and a good thing to say that I’ve done.
It’s a challenge in itself to get this far, so on the whole I am happy.
“I built myself up to win too much, but it’s just one of those things. I’ve come here after working hard and I’m glad I didn’t lose in the semis and managed to make it this far.
“I’m glad I lost to someone who was really good and fought really hard, I think she deserved it in the end.
“I’ve only been boxing for a year and a half and I probably should be happier with a silver medal at BUCS.
“Hopefully I can come back next year but we’ll have to wait and see, I want to keep improving.”
l Gatorade is the exclusive nutrition and hydration partner to British Universities & Colleges Sports and headline sponsor of the BUCS Gatorade Nationals. BUCS and Gatorade work together to educate student athletes on the importance of sports nutrition and hydration – visit: www.bucs.org.uk/gatorade