Jodie Williams on her marks for Great North CityGames

PUBLISHED: 15:48 03 September 2014 | UPDATED: 15:49 03 September 2014

Jodie Williams August 2014. Picture by Paul Sanwell/OP Photographic

Jodie Williams August 2014. Picture by Paul Sanwell/OP Photographic

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The bend running of Jodie Williams might have helped her to four major championship medals this summer, but the 20-year-old flyer from Welwyn Garden City will be happy to get on the straight and narrow in the Great North CityGames on Saturday.

Despite running a storming curve on the penultimate leg for the Great Britain 4 x 100m relay team, who smashed the 34-year-old UK record with a stunning 22.24sec clocking as gold medal winners at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, Williams admits she will be relieved to be racing in a straight line when she lines up for the 150m on Gateshead Quayside.

“I hate bends,” confessed Williams, who also had to negotiate curves to win her individual 200m silver medals at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games, and to help the England 4 x 100m relay quartet to bronze at Glasgow 2014.

“To run 150m in a straight line will be brilliant,” she added. “It’s probably the perfect distance for me and I don’t have to run a bend, which I absolutely despise.

“I never really run the bend properly. I’m more of a strong finisher than a bend runner. I think over time that will come but at the moment bends are not my forte. I tend to come through at the end of races.”

Williams showed what she could do as a bend runner in the 4 x 100m relay final in Zurich, pulling ahead of the opposition and handing over to Desiree Henry in the lead for the anchor leg. It also bodes well for the future of the former junior prodigy that she feels she still has room for improvement in her specialist event, the 200m.

In the European Championship final she finished runner up to the flying Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers in 22.46secs – moving to second on the UK all-time list, behind Kathy Cook’s 1984 British record of 22.10secs.

“If I can get round that bend properly, there’s probably a good couple of tenths of a second to come,” said Williams. “So, yeah, it’s great to still have so much to improve on. Hopefully I can get quicker and quicker.

“I feel like I’ve got a solid base of confidence behind me now going into next year. To have got two individual medals and two relay medals is a massive boost. It’s given me a really good platform to build on.”

First, though, comes the 150m street race on Tyneside, which pits Jodie against Bianca Williams (no relation), who won the 200m bronze medal behind her in Glasgow, and Asha Philip, who ran the lead off leg for the record breaking relay team in Zurich.

“I’ve only run one CityGames race before, in Manchester last year, and it was so much fun,” added Williams.

“I think it’s great. It was an amazing experience – to have that track in the middle of the city, the crowd so close to you, and a really relaxed atmosphere.

“I really enjoyed it. That’s why I wanted to do another one this year.”

Taking place on a unique, IAAF certified, purpose built track in the heart of the city, the exciting format of the Great North CityGames lets spectators get up close to the action, and best of all - it’s completely free to spectate.

Crowds of up to 25,000 are expected to watch performances from some of the most recognisable names in international sport – which have included in the past double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah, Australia’s Olympic and world champion Sally Pearson and Olympic silver medallist and world champion Christine Ohuruogu.


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