Herne Hill’s Katie Snowden is targeting the Olympic Games and a big 2022, after returning to Championship action last month.
After two years of injuries, the 27-year-old middle-distance runner appeared at a major athletics event for the first time since the 2018 Commonwealth Games when she competed in the 1500m at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Torun, Poland last month.
Snowden progressed through her semi-final and ultimately finished sixth in a highly dramatic final, in which Britain’s Holly Archer picked up a silver medal.
She admitted she was disappointed with finishing sixth, though was happy with being able to compete at a major event for the first time in three years.
Snowden said: “I was slightly disappointed, just because I felt it was an opportunity to place a bit higher because it was a really open field. There were definitely medals up for grabs so I was a bit disappointed by sixth.
“Having said that, I’d been a bit injured at the end of last year and into January so I knew that my preparation hadn’t been as ideal as it should be.
“I still wanted to compete to get some championship experience, as I hadn’t been in that environment for a couple of years, and to learn a lot from it which I felt I did. I was still happy that I went and gained all that but I would have liked to have finished higher.”
The championships in Torun were the first major athletics event since the emergence of Covid-19, and the protocols have since been questioned.
Several Polish athletes tested positive for the virus on the final day of the event, whilst everyone in the British camp was forced to self-isolate after a team official tested positive for coronavirus once the team returned home.
Snowden said: “I think in the end there were about 10 or 12 positive cases in the British team alone, and a couple of other countries had a number of cases as well which was slightly worrying.
“It meant that we all had to self-isolate for ten days. I had a flight booked to Flagstaff, Arizona just a couple days after we arrived home, so that had to be rescheduled. Thankfully I’ve got some home gym stuff, but it was still frustrating to not be able to go out and run.
“In terms of protocols it was actually quite relaxed. I think that’s something that European Athletics will have to look at as there have been a lot of cases of Covid.
“I think there were meant to be guidelines in place but I’m not sure there actually were that many in the end, which doesn’t bode that well for Championships in the rest of the year.
“We were under the impression while we were there that it was going to be quite a good environment and sadly in the end it didn’t prove to be the case.”
The former Commonwealth Youth Games champion is now training up at altitude in America, and plans to race whilst over there to help seal a spot in the British team for the rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo this July.
Snowden said: “One of the reasons I wanted to come out to America is that I wanted to train at altitude.
“I’m up in Flagstaff at the moment. My plan was to do six weeks of training up here and then drop down back to sea level and race but at the moment in the UK there aren’t that many opportunities, or not that many have been confirmed.
“Hopefully I might try to get a few races out here before I fly home again. It’s a bit more relaxed here. There’s a lot more opportunities. Hopefully it’s going to be quite beneficial being out here to try and run that qualifying time.
“I’d like to do the 1500m. It’s three rounds and reaching the final will be tough in itself. Reaching that would be the first thing, and then once you’re in that final you can just see what happens.
“Once you make the team, you have such a good chance of doing well. There are world class athletes at our own British trials so once you make the team that gives you a platform to do well at Tokyo.”
Next year is also set to be a huge year for British athletes with the World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games all taking place within the space of two months and Snowden is hoping to potentially compete at all three.
She said: “I’d have to talk to my coach and work out what we think is reasonable. I’d love to do all three but I’d probably do the 800m at one of them. But then again it would be really tough to make the team as the 800m is currently really strong. There’s so many good British girls coming through.
“I can maybe do the 1500m at two and the 800m at one. I’d love to do that, especially with the Commonwealth Games being in Birmingham. That is one I want to do but the World Championships in America is also an amazing opportunity.”
Featured image credit: Katie Snowden