Norfolk star looking ahead to home Games at Birmingham 2020

Iona Lake in the women's 3,000m steeplechase final at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast

Iona Lake in the women's 3,000m steeplechase final at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Norwich-born Team England runner Iona Lake is motivated by the thought of a home Commonwealth Games in two years’ time in Birmingham.

“It’s exciting, I’ve never been involved in a home Games of any sort before so it’s quite exciting that it is here in Birmingham because I went to university there as well,” said Lake, from Hainford.

“I’ve got lots of good memories and friends who still live around that area, so it holds quite a special place in my heart.”

This week marks two years to until the opening ceremony of the 22nd Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. It will be the third time that England has hosted the Games in its history and will be the first home Games for England since Manchester 2002, 18 years ago.

The middle distance runner competed for Team England at the Gold Coast Games two years ago in the 3,000-metre steeplechase.

“It was a really fun experience,” said Lake, winner of Run Norwich 2019 and the Norfolk Cross Country Championsships in January.

“I had never been involved in a senior competition before so it was quite a big learning curve but everyone was so welcoming. We were at the hotel in Brisbane, three weeks prior to going to the village, which was a really good opportunity to get to know the team and some athletes who had been on the team before, like Dina Asher-Smith who was so nice and all these people who I’ve kind of looked up to before and now all of a sudden you are on the team with them.”

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Lake acknowledges she has been lucky to be able to continue training throughout the Covid-19 pandemic by moving back home to Norfolk before lockdown was enforced

“We live quite rural and have lots of space to go on runs, which is ideal for me as an endurance runner so I could still get a lot of training done without the use of the track and could keep a good fitness level up.”

Now back in Teddington, Lake is keen to regain some of that race sharpness as she continues to build towards competing at the back end of this year.

“It’s nice to be back but we haven’t been able to get any barrier practice in as all the hurdles have been locked away. It’s been a bit of a funny one as you don’t really know what shape you are in but it’s a case of keeping the fitness levels topped up and making sure you are ticking over.”

To follow the fortunes of Team England athletes in the lead up to Birmingham 2022 head to the Team England website

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