For Louise Damen, a visit to the Chichester Priory 10k in 2016 was altogether happier than her previous participation in the race.
Nine years ago she had a difference of opinion with a crash barrier and ended up injured and out of the race. This year, she won.
The Winchester athlete said: “I knew it was going to be tough today. I’m in heavy marathon training for the London Marathon.
“It took me a good 5k to really get going. My endurance is good at the moment but my speed is lacking a little bit. But it was good for me to come and have a good hard race.
“The ladies pushed me hard all the way and I think it was quite a close finish. Coming back down the hill I knew my leg speed wasn’t the best it could be right now. So it was a case of gritting my teeth and making sure I held them off.”
Damen recalled her previous venture into the race and was able to smile about it - unlike back then.
“I haven’t been to this race for nine years. Last time I came here in 2007 I had a bit of an accident at the start. I collided with a big pedestrian barrier and picked up some nasty injuries.
“So it was good to come here and get rid of my demons.”
Damen said she hoped to be back at next year’s race and said: “For me now it’s a case of getting my head down and training hard for the London Marathon. That’s my big target for this year.”
See the Chichester Observer - out on Thursday - for full coverage of the 10k, including reports, pictures and a full list of finishers and their chip times
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