CITY of Plymouth’s Poppy Tank enjoyed an impressive 3,000m steeplechase debut on Saturday at the BMC Grand Prix – World Athletics Challenger meet in Manchester.
The Great Britain cross country international stormed to victory by 25 seconds, coming home in 10:04.88, which puts her straight into the UK’s top five this year and top 30 of all-time.
Her performance was even more eye-catching considering she only had 20 minutes to warm-up due to traffic problems on the way to Sportscity and the fact that she had only ever tried doing the water jump the week before.
She also had to front run the whole race with no-one able to push her on.
“It was my first one (steeplechase) ever,” said Tank afterwards. “Last week was my first time trying the water jump as well so to just go from that to putting it all together into a race was a bit of a shock and nerve-wracking.
“The race was hard work, but I actually enjoyed it.”
Tank, who is now working with Luke Gunn, who also coaches Erme Valley’s international Will Battershill, feels she can get a lot better at the event.
“I feel like this is an event I have a lot of potential in,” she said. “Even with just the water jump alone, I think I could take off 15 or 20 seconds by learning how to jump it properly and learning how to land one-footed and get further along the pit.”
Tank is now hoping to get more races under her belt and to see how far she can go in the event.
Meanwhile, fellow Great Britain cross country international Battershill also competed at Manchester, but not in the steeplechase.
He finished third in the prestigious Emsley Carr Mile in a PB time of 3:58.49.
The Erme Valley athlete was only beaten by Coventry’s Adam Fogg and specialist 1,500m star Piers Copeland.