Indoor racing may pose a fresh challenge for Luton athlete Rebecca Murray, but that hasn’t stopped her from setting her sights on the gold medal at next week’s BUCS Nationals.
Last season saw Murray, who runs for Bedford & County AC, then an undergraduate at the University of Birmingham, clinch the 10,000m title, but this year the 22-year-old will compete in the 3,000m as she looks to add more silverware to her collection.
Taking place from February 17-19, BUCS Nationals will see more than 6,000 students from across the country descend on the Steel City for three action-packed days of sport.
Now a Masters student at Brunel University, the former Bedford Girls’ School pupil is preparing for her first race under cover, and she’s looking forward to seeing what she can do.
“BUCS Nationals should be really good this year. It will be my first indoor race so it will definitely be interesting,” said Murray, who is currently studying financial maths.
“I’ve never raced indoors before, so I thought this would be as good an opportunity as any to give it a go.
“People have told me it’s different to outdoors, so I’ll just have to wait and see how I do.
“I don’t really know what to expect.
“I haven’t raced on the track yet this year, so it will be interesting to see how I do in the middle of cross country season.
“I’ve been very much focusing on cross country over the winter, so this will change it up a bit doing a shorter race.
“I won the 10km BUCS race last year, so while I’d love to get another title, I don’t really know who will be racing.
“I do like racing over 3km though, so hopefully I can run close to my outdoor PB of 9:22mins.”
BUCS Nationals is the UK’s largest annual multi-sport event, and has provided a building block in the careers of many professional athletes.
And with four years of university life under her belt, Murray admits it wouldn’t have been the experience it has without the opportunities competing in BUCS has brought her.
“Everyone is of a similar age at BUCS so most of your friends are there and it makes for such a good atmosphere if it’s anything like the Cross Country Championships,” she said.
“It makes it such a team event even if you’re competing at an individual level, so it’s always really nice.
“It adds so much to the university experience.
“The whole weekend away makes it one of the biggest events on the calendar.
“So it’s always something you look forward to competing in.”