Charlotte Taylor stepped out of her comfort zone at the World Championships on Saturday night (August 5) - and claimed it will only make her a better athlete.
The Nene Valley Harrier has been enjoying an outstanding season competing for San Francisco University - winning the prestigious NCAA 10,000m title in Oregon and lowering her personal best with a 32:11.00 time that was four seconds inside the qualifying mark for London.
But this was a whole new challenge in her first race outside the United States this season.
The former Spalding High School student - a former world under 20 triathlon champion - finished 27th in a time of 32:51.33 as Olympic champion and world record holder, Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana, destroyed the field to collect the gold.
“That was a big step up and it probably showed with my performance,” she admitted.
“I’m still learning how to conduct myself in a big competitive race like this and I’ve certainly learned a lot of lessons for next time.
“It was a great experience and I’m already thinking about what I’d do differently. I needed to keep calmer in the opening stages, when there are lots of girls and lots of bodies.
“The pace was all over the place and not as steady I planned for. There were repeated injections of pace and made it a challenge just to stay on two feet.
“However, you have to prepare for every eventuality and be adaptable. Coming here I knew this would be a learning experience and that was my only objective, to take things forward for next time.
“I’ve learned that you have to get involved in the race and keep fighting all the way to the end, I was still picking up some places at the end.”
Taylor’s race followed a couple of hours after Jo Pavey had received her 10,000m bronze from the 2007 World Championships - upgraded a decade later following a doping ban.
Pavey ran her fifth Olympics in Rio last year aged 43 and Taylor - just 23 - is only just setting out on the same road.
“Jo is a fantastic inspiration for all British distance runners, her career and her longevity and all her achievements are remarkable and she’s also a lovely person,” she said.
“This is my first major championships and having been here I just want to do it again. Next year is the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships, which are my next targets.
“The atmosphere out there was incredible, it’s so special to have that experience in front of a home crowd, I’ll remember running in that noise for the rest of my life, it gives you goosebumps.”
You can help the next generation of young British athletes by getting involved in SportsAid Week this September with London 2012 hero Greg Rutherford MBE. Find out more about how you can support the week of fun and fundraising by visiting www.sportsaid.org.uk/sportsaidweek