The streets of London were packed yesterday with numerous Welsh flags being spotted around the course as Bethan Davies made her Major Championship debut in the women’s 20km Race Walk. The crowd were excellent in their support for the athletes as they took on the 50km and 20k Race Walk distances. Bethan went into the Championships in fine form and after spending some time away training at altitude in the Swiss Mountains, she was certainly in good shape ahead of the race.
The sun was shining down around the race course which covered a 2km loop through the Mall to Buckingham Palace, this set the perfect scene for a combination of high class racing and superb crowd support. The race was underway and Bethan was in the middle of a strong moving pack just behind the leaders, as the race progressed so did the pace. She went through the half-way mark (10km) as the leading British Athlete and was in 36th place overall. Bethan started to pick up the pace and in the latter stages of the race and was picking athletes off all the way to the finish line. It was a strong performance from the Cardiff based athlete who finished in 29th place with a time of 1:33:10 which was just 6 seconds off her personal best. Bethan was not only the first British athlete to cross the line but she was also second in the Commonwealth nations which puts her in a strong position with next year’s Gold Coast Games on the horizon.
Bethan had this to say after her race:
"I absolutely over the moon. Conditions were really hot today. When I got on the start line I was just like keep it going but to be so close to my PB was great and he crowds were so amazing"
“The first race walk I watched was here in London. So to come here and go from sideline to start line it's just amazing and looking ahead to the Commonwealth I think I was quite highly ranked so that's great"
"Every step I took there were people shouting my name and all my friends and family were here. That was the best experience I've ever had when it comes to racing"
"There was quite a lot of movement through the field so I just had to focus on what I was doing and near the end I seemed to have a second wind and just started to pick people off. You just have to focus on the girl in front and hope you get them”
“Maybe I'll do 50km next you never know. I'll just keep moving on, pushing and see what happens”
“I'm hoping to go to the Gold Coast and do just as well maybe even better!”