Aberdeen AAC’s Zoey Clark hopes she won’t go though the same rollercoaster of emotions at next month’s Commonwealth Games as she experienced at the World indoor championships in Birmingham.
The North-east Great Britain international returned from the Midlands last weekend with a 4x400m relay bronze medal and a sixth-place finish in the individual 400m.
But these bare facts don’t come close to telling the full story of what proved to be a tumultuous few days for the 23-year-old full-time athlete.
The Great Britain relay quartet, weakened by the absence of individual 400m bronze medallist Eilidh Doyle, initially finished fourth.
USA won with a stunning championship record time of 3min 23.85secs with Jamaica second and Poland third.
Clark’s team, which also included Meghan Beesley, Hannah Williams and Amy Allcock, recorded 3min 29.38secs, one of the quickest times ever recorded by a British quartet.
The race was over, but the drama was just about to unfold.
It all started when the Jamaicans were disqualified for a lane infringement at one of the changeovers and the British team was promoted to the bronze medal position.
Disappointment changed to delight for the Brits, but within a matter of minutes confusion reigned once again when it was announced that the home side had also been disqualified for illegal pushing.
But there was to be a further twist as Jamaica and GB both launched appeals before a final outcome was reached.
The Jamaican appeal was dismissed, the British objection upheld and the home side was reinstated to the bronze medal slot.
Clark said: “We finished fourth and we were quite happy with that as we got a decent time.
“It was weird because I was the most experienced runner in the team and I haven’t really been with the senior squad for long, and haven’t done many indoor races.
“With Eilidh not being available there wasn’t really any great expectation on us, so we were all a lot more relaxed and probably ran better as a result.
“After the race we were in the media area when someone told us Jamaica had been disqualified so we started to get excited, but tried not to get our hopes up too high because we knew there would be an appeal.
“So, our team and the Jamaicans were taken to a holding room to wait for the medal ceremony, although we didn’t know which of us would be getting on the podium.
“We really didn’t know what was happening. Then a screen on the wall showed that we had also been disqualified. We started panicking as no-one told us why this had happened. We began questioning ourselves as to what we could possibly have done wrong.
“I was texting my boyfriend Ryan at home to ask if anything was coming up on the TV about it.
“For a long time there was total confusion but, finally, the news came through that we had been reinstated and eventually we got the medals.”
The bronze award was the icing on the cake for Clark who had earlier in the championships finished sixth in the individual 400m.
She said: “I did better than I expected in the individual race.
“I was given lane two for the final which isn’t the best on an indoor track, so I had to set off at a hard pace to get a decent position.
“I probably paid for that towards the end but I gave it my best shot.
“I could have started off more slowly and perhaps finished stronger, but that would have meant admitting defeat before I started.
“I thought it was better just to go for it – and I’m happy with what I did.”