JUST two years ago Pippa Woolven had to win a facebook competition to meet Mo Farah – now she is in the same England squad as the world and Olympic 5km and 10km champion.
The 20-year-old Wycombe Phoenis Harrier has interrupted an athletics scholarship in America to run in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this month after being selected for the 3,000m steeplechase.
Farah and Usain Bolt are just two of the global stars that will be on show in Glasgow, when Woolven makes her senior international debut.
She said: “I probably will be star struck. I heard we share a canteen with every other team so I could well be sitting next to Usain Bolt eating his chicken nuggets.
“It will be incredible to be surrounded by people I look up to though and that experience will be invaluable.”
Woolven will run the 3,000m steeplechase with Rachel Bamford, while other names in the England squad include Olympic gold winner Greg Rutherford, Dwain Chambers, Christine Ohuruogu, Hannah England and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
There is no doubt who the star is though.
Woolven said: “I’ve met Mo Farah before. I won some random competition on Facebook to do a 5km with him then go for breakfast at the Emirates Stadium.
“A lot of other people won too, it wasn’t just me, but I was the only serious runner there so I was running with him at the front and we had a little chat.
“I was asking him about life in Somalia and his diet, we were just chatting away as we were running.
“This was in 2011 and I got a T-shirt with OneMo’Mile on it, so I might wear it in Glasgow and see if he recognises me.”
Woolven has come a long way since then though, and her times since she took up an athletics scholarship at the University of Florida bode well for the 20-year-old.
She said: “I was actually on skype to my parents at the exact time I got the email [saying she was in the team].
“It was quite emotional actually, I did shed a tear and my parents were very happy.
“It was the first they’d heard about it, I was just checking my emails while talking to them and then I saw it. I just couldn’t believe it. It was quite overwhelming.”