Versatility the key...just ask Moreira and Britton
|European indoor 3000m gold medallist Sara Moreira
of Portugal with bronze medallist Fionnuala Britton
of Ireland. (Getty Images)
A day later, the smile that the double SPAR European Cross Country champion had across her face after winning a bronze medal on the track told more than just a story of finishing third in a 3000m final where Portugal's Sara Moreira produced one of the performances of the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Göteborg.
"You could say I took a bit of a gamble doing indoors before the World Cross Country," said Britton.
"If had come away seventh or ninth, you would have said what was the point.
"But I came away with a medal and it's not easy to get any medal."
Her voice buzzed with enthusiasm and she could not have been happier had the medal been gold.
The reason? Britton had finally proved she can be hit on the track.
At 28, Britton is looking towards establishing herself as an outstanding runner on all surfaces. As the woman who has dominated the major European cross country races this winter, even if a big part of running in Sweden was in the planning towards the World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz at the end of the month, she now has the psychological lift that she can succeed on a surface which has never brought her a major medal before.
Nagging doubts had remained after a summer that had seen her finish 15th in the 10,000m final at the Olympic Games in London and not progress from the heats of the 5000m.
So many of the greats have been able to make the podium on the track and in cross country: Paula Radcliffe, Paul Tergat, Serhiy Lebid, Haile Gebrselassie, Britton's fellow Irishwoman Sonia O'Sullivan and Moreira now too, the gold medallist in Göteborg after three victories in the team event at the SPAR European Cross Championships.
Mastering both is quite a feat.
If you have been brought up on a track, with a bouncy, economical style to each stride, that does not always work when the surface below you is packed with puddles.
In many ways it can be compared with the greats of tennis, those who reach the top and stay there are the players capable of keeping their footing on the clay of Paris as easily as the lush green lawns of Wimbledon or the fast hard courts of New York.
As in running, the basics are the same. But if the body cannot adapt, your chance has gone.
Moreira had three track medals and now she has her first gold.
And not that Britton feared she could not make the transition but the European Athletics Indoor Championships were a big breakthrough because never before had she made the top three in a major track event.
She had been close, with fourth in the 10,000m at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki last summer.
But if Moreira and Britton can now make an impression in Bydgoszcz, it will be quite a few months for the pair - in a year where the World Championships await in the summer in Moscow before a return to the terrain of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade.
Britton will be going for a hat-trick of individual gold medals there, while Moreira will be announced as the European Athletics Indoor champion, the pair having shown they can deliver in style, whether it is indoors, outdoors, hot or cold, snow or sun...terrain or track.
|Venue||Gothenburg - Scandinavium
|LOC President||Toralf Nilsson
|LOC General Secretary||Anders Albertsson
|LOC Project Leader
Combined Events - Final confirmations - update.pdf
4x400m Relays - confirmations.pdf
31st European Athletics Indoor Championships
30th European Athletics Indoor Championships
29th European Athletics Indoor Championships