Interview with Emma Stepto, British Half Marathon Champion!
On Sunday 5th October, Cornwall AC runner Emma Stepto became the British Half Marathon Champion at the Cardiff Half Marathon, finishing third female overall in a time of 72:28. Cornwall Running News caught up with Emma for a few words about her race!
How has your training been going lately and what were your expectations going into the race?
2014 has been a really tough year for me, as a lot of the time I haven’t felt 100% and London didn’t go to plan. It has been a case of head down and plough on, hoping it would come right. I had just started to feel fit again in the few weeks leading up to Cardiff, so I was excited to see how I was able to perform on race day. Luckily it was ideal weather conditions too, so I felt I had to set out at PB pace and see how it felt.
What was the event like; how was the atmosphere?
Cardiff is a fantastic city and the organisers are passionate about making Cardiff Half Marathon one of the top races in the country, leading up to the World Championships there in 2016. The crowds were fantastic and I heard a few familiar voices of Cornish supporters on the way – which made me want to really do them proud. Having my Cornwall AC team mates there too was the icing on the cake – they even fought their way through the crowds to get to the presentation!
Can you tell us a bit about the race itself?
I ran the race quite tactically, as I prefer to settle into my target pace and then react to how others are running. There were about seven ladies ahead of me right from the start and I gradually passed them over the first half, until it was just the four in front of me, all running in a group. I very gradually got closer to them and then at 10 miles picked up the pace, to get within a few paces of them.
I passed Rebecca (Robinson), in 4th and then the 3rd placed lady (Gladys Yator). Briefly I got past the 2nd lady (Perendis Lekapana), but she sprinted back past me and I didn’t react quickly enough.
We then turned into the finishing straight and I knew I was third and I didn’t dare let anyone past me then – I threw everything at that last sprint! It was a fantastic course too – mainly flat but with just a few gentle inclines to break it up.
Now you’ve had a day or so for it to sink in, how does it feel to be champion? Has your medal got pride of place on the mantelpiece?
I have been so touched by how many people have sent their congratulations. Everyone is so kind and supportive – it makes it even more special and memorable. I am also so pleased that I could give Alan (coach) something to celebrate, as he has helped and encouraged me for years and I wouldn’t have got anywhere near as far as I have without him. It still doesn’t seem real as I am back to work and training as usual. Also I have to remember that my target is Frankfurt Marathon and I can’t rest on my laurels yet!
Will you be competing at the final leg of the RunBritain Grand Prix, the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k on 16th November?
All being well, yes. I have entered. I did it last year and it is quite a journey, but totally worth it, as it is a super fast course. It is only 3 weeks after the marathon, so I might have to crawl around, but I’ll give it the best I can!!
Any other plans for the rest of the season?
The only plan after Leeds is a holiday with my fantastic, ever patient husband. I can’t wait to get away in the sun and actually spend time with him, with no training pressures. It really will be the first break I have had this year, so I think I will do me a lot of good.
Thank you so much for joining us, Emma! Congratulations on your success, and good luck for the rest of the season!