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'Shock' British title joy sparks World Championship steeplechase hope for City of Norwich Athletic Club's Iona Lake

Iona Lake (centre) stumbles as she comes out of the water during the Women's 3000 Metres Steeplechase Final during day two of the 2017 British Athletics Team Trials at  Alexander Stadium, Birmingham. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Iona Lake (centre) stumbles as she comes out of the water during the Women's 3000 Metres Steeplechase Final during day two of the 2017 British Athletics Team Trials at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

PA Wire

Becoming a 'shock' British champion has fired hopes of a World Championship place for City of Norwich Athletic Club's middle-distance star Iona Lake.

The 24-year-old, from Hainford, won the 3,000-metre women’s steeplechase at the World Championship Team Trials at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.

Lake ran close to her personal best at the event, which doubled up as the British championships, when finishing in nine minutes, 57.53 seconds – just over two seconds ahead of her nearest challenger Charlotte Taylor-Green.

The former Reepham High School pupil, who represented Great Britain at the European Under-23 Championships in Estonia in 2015, was just 0.89 of a second short of her PB of 9:56.64.

Her performance was all the more pleasing having had injury problems last year after returning home from two years in the USA, studying for two education masters degrees at the University of Virginia, to add to her undergraduate biology degree achieved at the University of Birmingham.

“I came back from America injured, with a really horrible hamstring injury, so I had five months completely off from June through to the winter,” Lake said.

“So I wasn’t sure what I was going to achieve this year. I’ve just been building up doing things like the Blickling Hall Parkrun 5K and not too much speed work, because I didn’t want to risk anything.

“I’d done a 3K the week before in an okay time so I knew I would be okay but I did not expect to win, at all. There were a few sub-10-minute girls in there so I was just hoping to cling on – so it was a big shock and a big confidence boost.”

It was the third-fastest time run by a British woman this year, ahead of the World Championships being held in London this August.

Lake is now looking for high quality races in the coming weeks to try and reach the 9.42-minute qualifying time for the worlds, ahead of the July 24 deadline.

The qualifying time of 9.45 for the Commonwealth Games, on Australia’s Gold Coast next summer, before the deadline at the end of September is also a target.

“At the worlds there is usually only one qualifying place but as it’s in London I think they want to take a few in the team,” Lake added. “So if I can run sub-50 I’m hoping I can still get selected.”

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