Worksop Harriers star Emily Race has revelled in an ‘incredible’ 2018 that saw her strut her stuff at Berlin’s historic Olympic Stadium.
The 18-year-old won four Championship medals in the season, claiming a senior high-jump title at the English Championships and finishing third in the U20 British Heptathlon Championships.
But perhaps the most memorable experience came as Race travelled to Berlin with the British senior team, rubbing shoulders with top stars as they prepared for the European Athletics Championships.
“It’s been an incredible year. I achieved a lot more than I thought I would with a few nice surprises along the way,” said the Outwood Academy Valley student.
“I’m not a world champion but I think I exceeded my own expectations which was nice.
“I got my first opportunity to represent Great Britain in a junior event in Berlin, just a couple of days before the European Championships. As a first experience as a senior athlete, it was amazing.
“I was sat on the bus with Lynsey Sharp and we got cheered and welcomed in at the airport, which felt quite surreal. I was, as I expected, shell-shocked to be with such well-known athletes.
“The dream is to get to the Olympics and the World Championships and to not only be in the shoes of those people I look up to now, but to go beyond and achieve more than they have.”
Race achieved a personal best in 2018, too, winning the English Schools Championships with a best-ever high jump clearance of 1.81m, the only athlete to clear that height.
She gained maiden selection for the senior England team at the Manchester International meeting in mid-August as the accolades continued to flow.
Her cause is also being helped by The Nottingham Building Society, who are teaming up with charity SportsAid to support 50 local athletes as they try to find their ‘time to shine’, with each receiving £750 of funding.
Race was one of 15 Sportsaid-supported stars to attend a fun-filled Christmas celebration at The Nottingham’s city HQ, helping celebrate and bring the ongoing partnership to life.
Four top ice hockey aces from The Nottingham Panthers were in attendance to offer their advice to the upcoming athletes, while among activities was a Kit Challenge and Wheel of Fortune with prizes.
Race was enthused by the chance to share knowledge with like-minded teenagers and thinks the backing of SportsAid and The Nottingham can give her the edge on her rivals.
“I think it’s been a really great experience. I’ve not been on too many of these kind of things so it’s really eye-opening,” she said.
“It’s good to have professionals who can use their experience to advise us in hindsight and help us with some of the big decisions that we’ll have to make.
“The support I get from my local Nottingham Building Society and SportsAid is incredibly helpful.
“It’s not just on the funding side that helps me progress in my sport, but also events like this when you get to meet similar people, it opens up ideas you haven’t thought of before.
“You feel comfortable because you get to know people. They’re experiences that put you above people who don’t have access to them.”
Nottingham Building Society and Harrison Murray teamed up with SportsAid in 2013 to help future sports stars get their time to shine. Visit thenottingham.com to find out more.