PIPPA Woolven says her Commonwealth Games selection won’t really sink in until she returns to England on Saturday.
The Wycombe Phoenix Harrier will run for England in the 3,000m steeplechase in Glasgow next month after receiving her international call-up this week.
She joins the likes of Mo Farah in a star-studded England squad, but admits the excitement won’t properly kick in until she returns from America, where she is on an athletics scholarship at Florida State University.
The 20-year-old said: “I was absolutely thrilled to hear about my selection for the Commonwealth Games.
“It has always been a big dream of mine to compete in the Commonwealth and Olympic Games and it will be an honour to represent Team England.
“The Games isn’t really a big deal over here in America since the USA is not part of the Commonwealth so the full excitement still hasn’t really sunk in yet.
“The support and encouragement from back home has been absolutely overwhelming though, and I can’t wait to celebrate with my friends and family when I get back.”
Woolven’s call-up follows a stunning season on the American University circuit, where she has set a string of personal bests while helping her University to a hat-trick of athletics titles.
She said: “My time in America so far has been an amazing and challenging experience.
“Track and field athletics is taken incredibly seriously at American universities and the facilities and resources I am surrounded by are truly incredible.
“I train with a team of about eight girls of a very similar standard, so it’s great to have them to push me in each and every training session.
“Despite having lots of fun over here, it can be quite an intense environment at times and has really given me a taste of what life would be like as a professional athlete.
“Throughout the season we travel to competitions all over the country so I’ve been lucky enough to visit some amazing places, Oregon and San Francisco being among my favourite.”
Woolven has been picked to run the 3,000m steeplechase alongside Rachel Bamford, but although she’ll go to The Games as the number one ranked woman in the country, she insists her first major championships will be more about experience.
She said: “My main aim in Glasgow is to place as high up as possible for Team England and to come away with a personal best time would be a lovely bonus.
“I will be among the youngest in the field and definitely one of the least experienced, so I’m going to use the opportunity as a valuable learning experience and not set my expectations too high.”
The Commonwealth Games runs from July 23 to August 3, with the women’s 3,000m steeplechase scheduled for Wednesday, July 30.