Zoe remains upbeat despite agonising near-miss at Masters World Athletics Championships

Zoe Doyle in action at the Masters World Athletics Championships in Lyon. Picture (c) Adam Brooks
Zoe Doyle in action at the Masters World Athletics Championships in Lyon. Picture (c) Adam Brooks

Masters athlete Zoe Doyle says she is ‘more determined than ever’ after coming agonisingly close to a podium place at the Masters World Athletics Championships in Lyon.

Zoe looked set to secure a sliver medal after running a fine race in the finals, but she leaned for the line too early and lost her balance – resulting in a fall and fourth placed finish.

Zoe Doyle in action at the Masters World Athletics Championships in Lyon. Picture (c) Adam Brooks

Zoe Doyle in action at the Masters World Athletics Championships in Lyon. Picture (c) Adam Brooks

“It was the best and worst race of my life,” said Zoe, from Berkhamsted. “It took a while for me to come to terms with what had happened, but I can now look back and be proud of what I have achieved and the amazing experience I have had competing on a world platform.

“I had such fantastic support from my friends and family and local people – I wanted to bring home a medal for them as much as for me. After the flash backs and having to face everyone I have come out the other side more determined than ever.”

Mum-of-three Zoe has been running the Berkhamsted Trail Running group for the past two years, and is hoping that she can ‘inspire other mums in Dacorum to reach for their dreams.’

In July, Zoe won silver at the National Masters at Birmingham Alexander Stadium, in the 1,500m V35 age group – earning her a place at the World Masters in Lyon last month.

Feeling confident, Zoe ran well in the heats and was the third-fastest qualifier in a time of 4m 46s – despite the 35 degrees C heat – as each of the four GB representatives booked their place in the final.

“I knew going into the final there were three girls who were faster than me on paper,” said Zoe. “But my coach told me ‘no-one can beat you in a sprint’. I knew I needed to stay close enough to the leaders to be able to take them in a sprint finish.

“With 800m to go I was fourth and had let the gap get too big, but I pushed on and increased my speed to close the gap. With 300m to go I was sprinting; I was in bronze position with about 60m to go and in silver position with about 10m to go.

“I was wishing for the line to come and over-leaned too early for the line, landing flat on my stomach. I got up, picked up my glasses, and stepped over the line, finishing in fourth.”

Despite her set-back, Zoe has vowed to come back fighting as she looks forward to a busy racing season.

First up is a training holiday to Portugal, followed by a full cross country calendar, the European Indoor Championships in Italy in April and possibly the World Championships in Australia in November.

“I will need to raise some sponsorship to consider going so far,” said Zoe. “I didn’t really want to leave my kids and go so far but I feel like I have to go if I can.”