Belgrave hero Nick Goolab finished second at the Liverpool Cross Challenge to secure a spot on the GB team at next month’s European XC championships.
The race was won by Rio 2016 Olympian Ross Millington, just four seconds quicker than Nick, who out-sprinted British 5000m champion Marc Scott, Cardiff Cross winner Charlie Hulson and Welsh star Dewi Griffiths.
Even more remarkable, though, was Nick’s comeback from a tough summer and a difficult 51st in the Surrey League at Wimbledon Common just a fortnight ago.
Here’s Nick’s very frank account of his battle with the mental side of the sport:
What were your hopes going into the race at Liverpool?
I wasn’t expecting much from the race, and I certainly wasn’t expecting 2nd. I only did four weeks of training for this race so I didn’t expect to contend. The main aim was to get round with a strong mindset. I’ve been struggling for a while with lack of confidence and a lot of self-doubt, so today was all about keeping those crippling thoughts away.
How did the race unfold?
I got off quite hard and immediately found myself in the top four. I thought “well I’m here now so may as well see how long I can stay here.” Fortunately I was able to hang on to the guys all the way.
How has your running been since the summer?
Over the summer, a lack of confidence and self-doubt overwhelmed me and I didn’t want to run. I ended up stopping for two months and that wasn’t planned. It happened because every day for two months I didn’t want to go running. Something similar happened a couple of weeks ago in the Surrey league when I finished 51st, and I was very close to not racing in Liverpool.
Will you alter your training ahead of the Euros?
I’ll do a hard week next week then a reduced week after that. Two of my four weeks of training were 100 miles each, so I’d like to do that this coming week, then freshen up for the Euros.
Nick’s first appearance of the XC season was another second place – this time behind Phil Sesseman – in the Surrey League at Richmond Park, off no sessions at all.
This was followed a week later by a dynamite third leg in the South of England relays at Wormwood Scrubs, three weeks before the torrential Wimbledon Common Surrey League fixture won by Kent’s Alex Yee.
Proud Belgravians can now look forward to seeing Nick compete in a GB vest at the European Cross Country Championships to be held in Tillburg, Holland, on December 9th.
Results: Liverpool Cross Challenge, Sefton Park, Saturday November 24
1. Ross Millington 28:00 (Stockport / Team NB MCR)
2. Nick Goolab 28:04 (Belgrave)
3. Marc Scott 28:05 (Richmond & Zetland/Bowerman TC)
4. Charlie Hulson 28:06 (Liverpool)
5. Dewi Griffiths 28:09 (Swansea)