Zoey Clark strengthened her claim for World Championships selection after running a lifetime best for the 400m in Geneva on Saturday.
The Aberdeen sprinter, who has competed at the past two World Athletics Championships in Doha and London, ran 51.22sec to dip under the UK Athletics qualifying standard – and rise to second place in this year’s UK rankings.
It is the first time in nearly four years Clark has set a personal best over the one-lap distance. Her time saw her shave 0.14sec off her lifetime best, which she had previously set in 2018 at the London Anniversary Games.
The last time Clark ran in Geneva in 2017, she had only recently completed her studies at Aberdeen University and won her first outdoor British University title.
Five years on – and following her blistering run – Clark reflected on how she is a different athlete to the one who had yet to run for Great Britain at a senior level the last time she competed at the AthletiCA Geneve meeting.
She said: “It’s been a good record for me (in Geneva).
“When I was back there in 2017, I was a different athlete. That was very much the breakthrough year for me – I had never really been on the British team at a senior level, and (international selection) wasn’t really in my mind.”
Clark has certainly made plenty of progress in the half-decade since her first outing in the Swiss city, with the 27-year-old having represented Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics, two World Championships, a European Championships and a Commonwealth Games across individual and relay competition – collecting two international medals in the process.
She has cemented her place as mainstay of Team GB’s relay squads, and hopes her latest Geneva display can be the catalyst for further successes in the coming months.
She added: “I think last time I was in Geneva, I was at the start of my journey as an athlete at an international level.
“Five years seems like quite a long time, because I’ve done so much and been to so many places since then. It does feel like a very long time ago.
“But because it had gone so well last time (in Geneva), I was hoping (racing there) would be something that would start me off again – give me that extra push and be the start of a new journey.”
Clark plans to run another 400m in Bern this evening, but after this the focus will be fully on the UK Championships in Manchester.
Performances there will go a long way towards finalising the British team for the World Championships in Oregon, USA, next month.
“Obviously I am hoping to do well at the British Championships,” Clark said. “I know there are a lot of talented girls in the 400m again this year – there’s four of us with the Worlds qualifying time, so not all of us will make that team.
“British Trials will be very important – that’s where it comes down to having a game plan within your team, with yourself and your coach, knowing what the outcome you’re trying to achieve is, and going in (to the competition) as level-headed as possible.
“(It’s a case of) trying to run the same 400m you normally do, put together a good race and hopefully everything will go to plan.”
Relay team hit Commie Games mark again
Meanwhile, the Scottish relay team again ran the qualifying time for this year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games in Geneva.
Rebecca Matheson, Alisha Rees, Sarah Malone, and Taylah Spence combined to run 44.75sec in the 4x100m relay, equalling the qualification standard set by Scottish Athletics, which they’d already run in the West Midlands a couple of weeks ago.
In the individual races, Rebecca Matheson ran a new personal best 11.91sec in the 100m, with Alisha Rees running a wind assisted. 11.42sec.