JESSICA Judd says the pressure is off as she prepares to make her Great Britain cross-country bow at the European Cross-Country Championships on Sunday.
The 17-year-old insists her main objective was just to qualify for the junior women’s race in Budapest – and now she intends to enjoy herself.
“I really don’t know what to expect,” said Judd, who has won silver and bronze medals at World Youth and World Junior Championships on the track but never run for Great Britain over the country.
“Getting to the Europeans was my aim at the start of the winter and now I’m there I’m just going to enjoy it and do my best.”
Judd and her Great Britain team-mates will be confronted with temperatures even colder than here when they arrive in Budapest today.
Temperatures are set to drop to as low as minus 6 degrees and Judd’s coach Rob Denmark, who is also part of the Great Britain team’s management, says they are not too sure what to expect.
“The forecast says possibly snow tomorrow and minus 6 degrees overnight before Sunday’s race,” said Denmark.
“I’ve seen a video of the course and at the moment it looks quite hard and not ankle deep in mud but we just don’t know what it will be like on the day.
“You can never be complacent with any cross-country course, you have to prepare for it as best you can.
“And Jess could not be better prepared for any eventuality.
“I’d like to think she goes there and gives a good account of herself but her training is still her main focus. Her pathway is long term and is looking at the track next summer and the summer after that.
“Of course, it would be nice for her to go and run well because it’s always nice to know you are on the right track but sometimes cross-country throws curve balls at you, as I know from experience.
“I used to go to cross-country races all the time thinking I would be up there only to be nowhere near. But it’s cross-country and you do it to be strong.”
Judd finished third in the trial race behind the reigning junior women’s European cross-country champion Emelia Gorecka and Jenny Walsh.
The British team are traditionally dominant in the team standings with Basildon AC’s Gemma Kersey in the squad that won gold last time out in Slovenia.
“The team as a whole normally do well so hopefully we can do that again,” said Canvey’s Judd.
“I have no pressure on me. Emelia and Jenny were clear of me in the trials and I think it will be a battle between them. “I hope I can have a good run and put all the training I have done into a good race.”