Marathon runner Charlotte Purdue has known nothing but success in 2019 but she is well aware she is about to face her toughest test yet at the World Athletics Championships in Doha.
So far, 2019 has seen her become the third fastest British female marathon runner, win the London Half Marathon and follow that up with a fifth place at the Great North Run – but she didn’t have to do any of those in Doha’s 40 degree heat.
Or, in the middle of the night. When Purdue sets off in Friday’s women’s marathon in Doha, the first medal race of the Championships, it will be at one minute to midnight – quite the opposite to what she is used to.
But Purdue isn’t worried about the time and has instead been doing her upmost, including training on a laboratory treadmill in 36 degree heat for the past month, to make sure she is as equipped as she can be to deal with the Doha humidity.
“I haven’t been training at midnight – I’m not really too worried about it,” said the Hampshire athlete.
“I’ll be able to stay awake, obviously, because I’ll be buzzing for the race. It’s more the heat that I’ve been trying to practice in as much as possible.
“I’ve done all my hard training before the event, so in Dubai I was just trying to get as much exposure to the heat as possible. It was all about keeping my legs ticking over and doing some of my longer runs in the evenings.
“I was glad to be in Dubai for training before the event because it will be just as hot as Doha.”
Purdue produced the performance of her life in April’s London Marathon, clocking two hours, 25 minutes and 38 seconds to move third on the British all-time list behind only Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi.
Repeating such a feat at the World Championships will be nigh-on impossible, but the Briton is confident she can finish higher than the 13th she managed two years ago in London and even thinks Doha’s course could work in her favour.
“I’m really happy with the time I ran in London and it helps going into this World Championships because I think this will be a slow race,” added the 28-year-old.
“To already have the Olympic qualifier and a fast time this year behind me means I can relax a little bit more. I’m definitely wanting to get into the top ten, but the conditions are so challenging, literally anything can happen.
"I’m not specifically setting any goals, but I want to be higher than 13th. In 2017, I was a 2:29 runner, now I’m a 2:25 so I’ve taken a big chunk off my PB.
“No matter what, it’s certainly been a great year so far. It’s been a great stepping stone for Tokyo next summer.”