Natoya Goule in the 800m at the IAAF World Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
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High and low – Natoya Goule

Jamaican 800m record-holder Natoya Goule outlines a landmark run from this season’s IAAF Diamond League circuit for her high moment and a gloomy memory from the 2017 campaign for her low moment.


High

My high moment came in Monaco earlier this year when I ran my PB and national record of 1:56.15. I’d been through a lot, so to run 1:56 was super amazing.

I’d had a tough 2017 season but I put in place more endurance training last winter, which I think has made a difference. Although I am a middle-distance runner, I’d never been too keen on the long winter runs. My coach used to ask me to run for an hour on a Sunday but because I didn’t like long runs I only used to go for 50 minutes.

Last winter, I made a big effort to complete my long runs and run at least 10 miles, if not longer. I started to notice the benefit of my harder training when my coach (Mark Elliott) asked me to run 1km in 2:45. I completed it in 2:35. I was amazed at the time and it told me I was in super shape.

During the indoor season, I ran under two minutes (1:59.86). I accelerated away from the field in the latter stages and I wasn’t even tired at the end of the race.

This year I’ve gone into big races with a different attitude, believing I can compete with the best. I gained more confidence by winning an 800m bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. To come home from Gold Coast with a medal made me so happy.

I was determined to make it to the start line for the Monaco Diamond League because all the races there are super-fast. To be given an invite was a great boost and I was smiling and relaxed on the start line because I knew I would run a PR.

I went through the bell in about 57 seconds and with about 300 metres remaining I was moving so fast I went past Ajee (Wilson) and Francine (Niyonsaba). I was shocked I could see (Caster) Semenya ahead of me, so I knew I was running quickly. Down the home straight Francine went past me but to run 1:56.15 was a hugely emotional moment for me and I recall shedding tears of joy for some time after the race.


Low

My low moment arrived in 2017 after I stepped off the track at the Boston Games and threatened to walk away from the sport.

The previous year had been a rough year for me. I struggled throughout the indoor season, running 2:08 in the heats at the World Indoor Championships. I was sleeping every day until noon and wondered what was wrong with me. I was eventually diagnosed as having an iron deficiency and I was put on iron deficiency supplements to help fix the problem.

The problems continued in 2017 both on and off the track. I was performing poorly and after running 2:02 to place seventh at the Boston Games, I was so devastated, I said I’m done with track. I was in great shape but I could barely run two minutes.

But Lance Brauman (the sprints coach) was there at the time and he encouraged me that everything would be okay.

Thankfully, I did not carry out my wish. A friend, Trinidadian 400m sprinter Jovan Toppin, has been a big support. My friends and family also helped rebuild my confidence and I successfully returned to the track.

Steve Landells for the IAAF