Helen Dean has qualified for a national 10k competition in Birmingham.
The Chichester Runners member, who lives in Selsey, qualified for the Age Groups Masters England 10k Championships when she ran her personal best for the ditance of 44.11 at the Chichester Priory race earlier this month.
She will be up against some of the best older 10k runners in the country as she flies the flag for the club and the city.
Dean said: “I feel it’s a great privilege. I just don’t want to let anybody down, that’s how I’m feeling. It is exciting but daunting to say the least.
“I knew that the Chichester 10k race earlier in February was a qualifier but there are several ladies in my age group who are considerably faster than me and I definitely thought they would be offered it. But for whatever reason, they didn’t seem to be. I was in the right race at the right time.
“It was my fastest time and even though up until very recently I have never recently timed myself or anything, I have just always run as fast as I can. It was totally untechnical but I felt strong at the end and in the last kilometre, I managed to speed up and that has probably what has got my time.”
The Chichester Priory 10k was one of three qualifying events for the 10k National Masters, along with the Telford 10k and the Chester 10k. The top three eligible athletes for the race in Birmingham from each age category are being selected from each of the three qualifiers.
Dean, 63, who took up running more seriously when moving to Selsey five years ago, will compete in the over-60 age category in the race on Sunday, May 26. The Masters Championships is integrated into the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k.
Dean was the top over-60 woman finisher from Sussex in the Chi 10k.
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Talking about how she got into running, Dean said she started jogging on her own.
“I didn’t have any idea of training and I had no pattern or anything, and then we moved to Selsey and thought, ‘I really want to join a running club’,” she said.
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“I found out about Chichester Runners, and they were extremely warm and welcoming and they had so much to offer whether you were a fun runner or whether you want to compete.
“When I got into the 60s age group I seemed to do better, but the trouble is that other ladies now in their 60s are moving into the age group so I need to get into the next one [age category] as quick as I can.”