Nadia Power’s face says is all. Looking calm, fresh, and perfectly content, after a long and arduous year comes the potential to finish on a high at Sunday’s European Cross-Country in Turin.
Part of the 40-strong Irish team, across the seven races, Power will run the mixed 4x1,500m relay, added in 2017: a year ago in Dublin, the Irish quartet finished fourth, after leading for most of the way.
Power wasn’t running then, however, Sunday being her first appearance in an Irish vest since the 800m at the Tokyo Olympics back in August 2021.
Sidelined with injury for much of the period since, she’s suitably excited to be racing again, joined on Sunday by Luke McCann, Georgie Hartigan, and Andrew Coscoran – and there’s definite medal potential there again.
“It’s all good, back feeling good again,” she says. “It’s been a long year, but I’m excited now to just get back in an Irish vest and finish it off on a high, hopefully.
“This time last year, I took a month off because I got Covid and that then led to me developing plantar fasciitis in my foot when I returned. I found out at the end of indoor season that it was actually a tear, so I’m pretty sure I ran through January and February and raced with a plantar tear so then I was three months off running and got an injection, then have been slowly rehabbing it since. It’s been very tricky.
“I tried to make it back for summer but due to tendon injuries, you don’t know how they’re going to respond. My body just wasn’t ready, fitness wise, and my foot wasn’t ready either. I had to take a month off and just rebuild but thankfully I’m in a pretty good place.”
Now 24, the Dublin athlete is currently based in London, graduating with honours in marketing from DCU last year, also coached now by Matt Yates, one of Britain’s leading 1,500m in his prime.
“I always knew I’d need to push myself a little out of my comfort zone in terms of living at home. It felt like the right time and I had itchy feet after Covid and wanted to try a new set-up. It’s working out well for now.
“We’re coming up to 18 months later, since Tokyo. When you finish that race, you’re like, I’m going to make it all better next year so it’s really, really frustrating not to have the chance to do that. I’m raring to go. The standard has moved on so much and I’ve a lot of catching up to do. I have to go and prove myself again.”
Power has the advantage of already racing at the Piemonte-La Mandria Park course in Turin, competing on the 2km short course on November 21st, finishing in third in 7:10.
“With the injury, I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself. By the time I did the trial in Italy I was raring to go and felt good and I was quite happy with how I raced there. I’m pretty excited now, and I think we’re a lot more competitive than we were in 2019, so we’re definitely going to be shooting for a medal.
“Making Tokyo is my top achievement, but as athletes are, we move on. I’ve been frustrated I haven’t been able to surpass it sooner. I’ve had to be very patient the last while. It’s a super positive opportunity for me, a few months ago I didn’t see this as the end to my year, the chance to finish things on a high.”