Reigning European 3000m steeplechase champion Gesa-Felicitas Krause bounced back after her fall in the final of her specialist event at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 with a national record and 2017 European-leading time of 9:11.85 in Berlin last Sunday.
She took almost four seconds off her previous record set earlier this year and, almost immediately after she had finished her lap of honour, confirmed that she will be returning to the Olympic Stadium in just under 12 months’ time to defend her continental crown at the European Athletics Championships, which are part of the first multi-sport European Championships being held in conjunction with the Scottish city of Glasgow.
“In 2018, everything will be pointing towards the European Athletics Championships in Berlin. I will make a short indoor season then my [spring] training camps will be similar to this year. I will definitely return to Kenya, and South Africa as well. I will not start the summer as early as I did this year when I ran in the Doha Diamond League meeting in May and then went on to China and the USA for Diamond league meetings there,” she told the German athletics federation website www.leichtathletik.de
“This winter I want to ski in Italy in December. I have already booked and planned. I would like to create an endurance basis for the next year with two weeks classical cross-country skiing as an alternative training method.
“Instead of sitting on the ergo-meter or aqua-jogging or being in the gym, I can be in the fresh air and in a beautiful environment this time.”
This weekend a potential new challenger to Krause’s bid to retain her European title emerged when Norway’s former European U20 steeplechase record holder Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal ran her first race over the barriers for six years and clocked a national record of 9:13.35, which was briefly a European-leading time.
“With her, I got an old new competitor in Europe,” she joked, the pair having been rivals in the U20 ranks.
“Her time motivated me. This was an extra thrill before the [Berlin] race. It was all the more fortunate that I could run the national record and get back the European best time.
Krause got a taste of how the German fans will greet their own, as well as the competitors from the rest of European Athletics’ 51 Member Federations, on Sunday.
“There was a wave [of sound] throughout the stadium when we were introduced and presented. As an athlete, you also notice that the noise is louder from lap-to-lap, this is something very special.
During the race, I noticed how tired my legs had become but I tried to use the emotions of the audience to work for me and keep me fighting. It was a fight to the end and it worked.
“I’m really glad I could say good bye to the season on a high note I say goodbye to the holidays this was certainly fine consolation to my season after what happened in London.
“I'm relieved I was able to finish like this. In principle, I am someone who always wants to bring their best performance at the annual high point of the season.
“It particularly annoyed me that the fall happened at the peak of the season. I felt I might have run below 9:10 there, but I could not show this form. This was a pity but it is also good that I know I can still improve and have not yet reached my limits. I am 25, I would like to continue to improve for a few more years and have a target.
“The positive reaction [to what happened in London] from my fans, from people who know me and from people who do not know me, was gigantic as well; that touched me very much. This is something that I will always remember as being very special.”
The full interview (in German) can be read