COLNE athlete Laura Finucane admits she faces an uphill task in her quest of featuring in London’s 2012 Olympic Games.
The 24-year-old Loughborough University graduate, who specialises in the 800m, has had her last three seasons riddled with injury and is still on the road to recovery. The latest damage, following a shin fracture, is to her Achilles and now she is praying for a September return.
“I felt a burst on my Achilles and now the tendon is inflamed,” said Laura. “There’s fluid all around it when I try to move the joint. It makes it tough to run on so I’ve struggled coping with it. I’m just trying to ease my way back in to things with the intention of getting back into full training in September.
“It has been a big setback and so was the previous year when I fractured my shin. I had a bit of a season but injuries have definitely hampered me. Unfortunately that’s athletics.”
Laura’s misfortune saw her career limited to just two competitive outings in 2010 where she finished eighth at the Trafford Grand Prix Open in Stretford and the BMC Nike Grand Prix at Sportcity, both in May. More than a year has passed since Laura last took to the track.
“I’m trying to compete with the best and when you’re doing that, something has got to give; that something is my body,” she said. “It has been incredibly difficult. The hardest thing is having your body hold up but it happends because every year you’re increasing the demands on it.”
Laura has developed under the expert guidance of coach Norman Poole at Wythenshawe Park and has benefitted from the mentoring of Dame Kelly Holmes, who scooped gold medals in both the 800m and 1,500m events at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. And Laura, whose personal best time of 2:01.35 was recorded at the Josef Odložil Memorial in Prague four years ago, would like to reward Holmes’s faith with a lump sum of success.
“I’m still a part of ‘On Camp with Kelly’ and it’s been massive for my career really,” Laura said.
“She’s put a lot of faith in me and supported me so it’s frustrating that I can’t give anything back at the moment.
“I’d love to pay her back with some success because she’s been so motivational and enthusiastic.
“Kelly tore her Achilles in half so she has been able to emphathise with my situation.
“You can’t get better then a double gold medal-winning Olympian.”
The UK trials for the middle-distance events for next year’s Olympics begin in July, 2012, which could be too big an ask for Laura.
However, the determined runner has declared that she will strive to have her goals and aspirations come true.
Laura, who lives with her athlete partner Tom Lancashire in Manchester, said: “It’s always been my dream to run in the Olympics, particularly one in my own country.
“But at the moment I’ve got to be more focussed on achieveing my short term goals, which are to recover from injury and run without feeling pain.
“The world doesn’t stop after 2012, though I obviously want to fulfil what I’ve worked so hard towards.
“As it stands though, I’m looking at post-2012.
“It ultimately gets harder as you grow older and I’m realistic because the 800m is the second most competitive event in Britain.
“I’m very self aware about my position and my body so I won’t be getting carried away.
“It’s imperative to stay grounded.”