Pleasant surprise for Skillen as she qualifies for World Champs
Jade Skillen booked her place at two Obstacle Course Racing World Championships at the weekend, not that she realised it at the time.
The Red Lodge athlete headed for Mallorca in Spain, where she was up against some of the sport’s biggest names in the 15km Super Race.
Having suffered from flu in the build up to the event, and with it being her first competitive outing of 2018, Skillen made the trip with low expectations.
But she made a mockery of that thought process, finishing ninth overall, with the first 10 to cross the line automatically securing themselves a place at the OCR World Championships in Essex and the Spartan equivalent in Lake Tahoe.
However, upon crossing the line Skillen was unaware of the size of her achievement, believing that she had just competed in a standard series race.
“It was not until someone tapped me on the shoulder afterwards and told me, that I realised top 10 got me through to the World Champs,” said the former Ditton Lodge Primary School pupil.
“Normally you have to podium in three separate events so it is amazing to have already booked my place.
“I did not expect too much before I went out there. I had been struck down by flu, which is unlike me, and I was in bed for four days.
“I nearly pulled out because it stopped me from training for seven to 10 days, but I decided to go for it and it actually helped me to perform.
“There was no expectation. It was my first race of the year and so it was just about doing the best I could.
“I raced against some of the girls at the Worlds in Lake Tahoe last year and they were amazing.
“It was always going to be tough, so I am really chuffed to have made it through.”
For good measure, Skillen had two hours to recover before returning to action in the 7km Sprint Open Race, which she duly won.
It is all preparation for the months ahead, with Skillen determined to work on hill and altitude training.
Trips to the likes of Madrid and Paris are already planned, while she is also set for some training sessions in Snowdonia.
She explained: “After analysing things with my coach, we saw the hills really slowed me down last year.
“I did not expect them to be as tough as they were.
“At the Worlds we climbed something like 4,900m, which is both physically and mentally challenging.”
Skillen’s next major assignment, meanwhile, will be a Spartan event in Sevenoaks, Kent, on April 7.