CLAIRE Tarplee says that while she is competing at a whole new level this weekend, she is in a great frame of mind to take on the world’s best 1,500m indoor runners in Sopot, Poland.
The Dundrum South Dublin runner was called up to the Irish selection last week following a superb series of runs early in 2014. During that time, despite struggling with a cold, she landed the Irish title in Athlone IT and is looking to build on her recent experiences at the European indoors and world student games in 2013.
“It is my first ever global competition,” she told GazetteSport when she spoke by telephone from Poland.
“This is a whole new level so I will just take everything as experience, treat my heat like a final and get something positive out of it, whether that be a personal best or a good finish lap to show I am moving forward from last year.”
Tarplee is a relative newcomer to international athletics having grown up in England. But, with an Irish mother and a lot of relatives still in the Dublin areas, she says her upbringing was “very Irish” and always felt more of an affinity with Ireland.
As such, when she found out she was eligible to run in the green vest, she jumped at the opportunity, saying she “was not made aware of it at a younger age” that she could run for Ireland.
Since then, she has developed quickly with the 2013 Europeans a steep learning curve in her first international meeting.
“At the Europeans, I might have respected everyone in the race too much. I was quite close to making the final so if I had that bit more confidence and self assurance I might have edged through. Now, I have a year’s worth of experience of major championships and so I will be more aggressive when I take the start line on Friday.”
And she feels in great shape to push for a place in the final this time around despite a high quality entry list.
“I am really looking forward to it and I am good shape. I did a few 800m races to improve my speed and they went well. Training has gone well even though I have had a cold for the past four or five days but I think I am going well.
“I am going to treat the heats like my final. I can only give it my all and then see if it is enough to get through to the final. Training has been a bit hampered [by illness] but all the hard work is done anyway and so the last few days are about getting healthy.”