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Series27 Feb 2017


My greatest challenge – Christine Day

Christine Day of Jamaica in the 400m at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015

World 4x400m champion and Olympic 4x400m silver medallist Christine Day has been among the leading one-lap runners for the past few seasons. But to reach her current status, the Jamaican has had to overcome a longstanding knee injury.

Persevering past the pain

I was a student from a high school without a developed track programme, so for my first couple of years when I started at UTEC MVP, I remember being so weak that I couldn’t complete a workout.

In my third year I made a vow to myself that my aim is to finish every workout, even if it means being the last one on the track. That’s what I did and in 2009 I enjoyed my breakout year, running 51.54 and making my first major championship team for the World Championships in Berlin.

Then about a month or so before Berlin, I picked up a meniscus injury on my knee and I couldn’t walk. I still competed in Berlin, but because of the pain, I was eliminated in the semifinals, running 53.46. I was very disappointed because I couldn’t perform how I knew I can.

The injury persisted in 2010 and 2011. I was very limited in terms of how much I could train. Even when I was walking, I was in pain. It was like having a cut on your foot – that’s how painful it was. I was so over it. I thought, ‘how am I going to beat these girls who are running so fast if I can only complete half the training?’

In 2011 I competed at the Penn Relays but then a month before the Jamaican Championships, my knee blew out again. I rang up my friend Kaliese Spencer and I said, ‘I’ve had enough, I’m not going to do track and field anymore. I can’t do this. I can’t even train properly.’

Yet she was the one who motivated me to give the sport one more try. She told me to give it one more season.

I stuck with it and in 2012 I made my first Olympic team. Had I given up the year before, I would never have run at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Even though I’m running faster now than I did back then, I consider the 2012 season to be one of my biggest achievements. And I never would have achieved all of that had my friend not helped.

Steve Landells for the IAAF