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Newbury’s athletes are reunited in Rome, as Izzy Fry and Charlotte Payne enjoy European Championships progress





It was a successful European Championships for local stars Izzy Fry and Charlotte Payne, as they finished an encouraging 9th and 14th in the 5000m and Hammer Throw respectively.

The pair were able to count on each other’s support in Rome too, as Fry says: “Charlotte and I were room-mates!”

“We were reminiscing about our times at Newbury AC, mind blown about the fact we’d both made it to the European Championships!”

Izzy’s top ten finish was exactly what she was hoping for in her debut on the senior stage, setting a new personal best of 15:05.66 and finishing as the highest ranked Brit.

A debut on the elite stage prompted a change in approach, as she admitted: “Sometimes I overthink certain scenarios.”

Izzy Fry at the 2024 European Athletics Championships in Rome (Photo: James Rhodes - @jrhodesathletics - instagram)
Izzy Fry at the 2024 European Athletics Championships in Rome (Photo: James Rhodes - @jrhodesathletics - instagram)

“I had a really different mindset going into this race. I had full belief that my body would know what to do, so I focussed on the enjoyment side.”

“Getting on that start line… at first I felt like I didn’t belong there! I was just soaking it up.”

An exceptionally quick race took many by surprise, with multiple athletes collapsing over the finish line. So was Izzy aware that she was on course for a personal best when she approached the line? “Not at all!”, she said.

Izzy Fry (centre left) competes in the Women's 5000m at the 2024 European Athletics Championships in Rome
Izzy Fry (centre left) competes in the Women's 5000m at the 2024 European Athletics Championships in Rome

“I knew it was a fast race because we had spread out quite quickly.

“But I had no idea who had won, no idea what pace I was running.

“I was oblivious to everything else that was going on.

“I always struggle with forgetting about the clock and just racing my own race. So I’m proud of myself for that.”

Fry has no regrets, but is optimistic that next time out she could surprise herself yet again.

Izzy Fry at the 2024 European Athletics Championships in Rome (Photo: James Rhodes - @jrhodesathletics - instagram)
Izzy Fry at the 2024 European Athletics Championships in Rome (Photo: James Rhodes - @jrhodesathletics - instagram)

“I did feel quite good, so maybe a sub-15 could’ve been possible, but I just wanted to race who was around me!

“I wasn’t left on the floor like some of the others! So maybe there’s a bit more in there.”

For Payne, it was a case of so close, yet so far, as she missed out on qualification for the Hammer Throw final by a mere 19 cm.

Her father Ian was still more than happy with the progress made. He said: “we’re very positive.”

“It was a good distance, only just outside and she’s still so young!

“A lot of things went the way we wanted them to go.

“We’re not that far away from the win, so we know we can challenge now.”

Charlotte Payne competes at the 2024 European Athletics Championships in Rome
Charlotte Payne competes at the 2024 European Athletics Championships in Rome

Both athletes are still seeing every event as an opportunity to grow.

“It’s a very nervous environment, but it’s about the learnings, about how you develop to take on the next one”, said Payne.

For Fry, being on the same squad as Asher-Smith and Johnson-Thompson was an eye opener in itself.

“Just having those people around you in the hotel, it was quite surreal!

“I had to remind myself that they’re actually my teammates, rather than just people I’ve looked up to.

“Everyone was super friendly, congratulating me. We all looked out for each other!”

For these two young athletes with common origins, the elite level has given them the chance to be teammates once again.

In Rome, both of Newbury’s finest continued to reach new heights on the continental stage.



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