HANNAH ALDERSON is determined to wear the Great Britain vest again after a debut that left her with mixed emotions.
While the Old Sodbury based runner was delighted to come back from the European Cross Country Championships in Budapest, Hungary, with a silver medal as part of the successful team, she was disheartened after suffering an ankle injury during the under-23 women’s race that left her in 62nd place in a time of 25:07.
Alderson had problems with her ankle at the Cross Country Challenge in Bristol last month and it inflamed after the European Trials in Liverpool, but she was given the all-clear to run on Sunday.
However, the 21-year-old aggravated the injury during the race and also struggled with her footwear on a hard, icy course, leaving her to concentrate solely on crossing the finish line.
Alderson had an MRI scan arranged by UK Athletics on Tuesday and will find out the extent of the damage by the end of the week, but has vowed to come back stronger from the experience.
She said: “I was gutted but to get there was my biggest goal this year. “I’m happy to have run for Great Britain – getting the vest was the victory for me. “Hopefully I’ll be back on track soon and I’ll run stronger next time.
“Everyone came away with a medal and it was a strong GB team.
“It was such a great experience and made me more hungry to get out there in the vest and give a strong performance because I know I’m capable.”
Alderson can still reflect on a good year, which included a second place finish in the 5,000m race at the Aviva England Athletics Championships and World Trials in Bedford, and believes there is more to come in the future.
She said: “As I get older I will probably race longer distances so to come in the top three (in Bedford) is a really good stepping stone into senior races.
“I will enter bigger races next year. I’ve got more to give on the road and the track. “I’m not jumping the gun, but maybe in a few years I will do half marathons.”
Alderson has benefited from the support of former double Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes over the last few years after being selected for the ‘Future Stars with Kelly’ programme for winning a bronze medal at the Aviva English Schools’ Championships in 2010.
The programme has now come to an end, but Alderson will attend a celebration with all the other members on Saturday.
“Kelly Holmes has been really good at motivating and letting you know all the aspects of training we need to think about,” said Alderson, who is in her final year studying to be a primary school teacher at the University of West of England in Bristol.
“She teaches you a lot about cross training which is really beneficial because no-one goes through their career without any setbacks and injuries.”