Former Spalding High School student Charlotte Taylor had a live TV audience of millions as she lined up at London Stadium for the IAAF World Championships 10,000m final.
Not many athletes are lucky enough to make their full international debut in such a high profile event – but the 23-year-old took it all in her impressive stride, finishing 27th out of the 32 competitors and enjoying the day of her life.
The Nene Valley Harrier ran with the field early on but as the pace hotted up, Taylor was one of many runners who found the speed of world record holder and eventual winner Almaz Ayana too much.
Reflecting on her big day, Taylor said: “It certainly was an incredible, almost surreal, experience.
“The race itself didn’t exactly play out how I’d expected.
“The pace was very slow through the first few kilometres with lots of surges. Unfortunately, when the big change in pace came, I didn’t have it in me at this stage to stay with the group around me and ended up running alone for the rest of the race.
“I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to compete at a World Championships and for that to be in front of a home crowd made it even more special. The atmosphere in the stadium was amazing!”
Taylor will have another date with the big time next month when lining up for the 10,000m as a key part of the British team at the World Student Games in Taiwan.
The 23-year-old, who is currently at San Francisco University, gained her place in the Great Britain team thanks to a run of 32:11.80 in California earlier this year. The personal best time put her four seconds inside the qualifying mark.
Former world under-20 triathlon champion Taylor is 20th on the all-time list of British 10,000m runners.
She recorded 32:51.33 on Saturday alongside the world’s leading distance runners, including Olympic champion and world record holder Ayana from Ethiopia who destroyed the field to collect the gold medal.
Ayana claimed a crushing victory by 46 seconds in her first race in 11 months.
Silver medallist Tirunesh Dibaba took silver in 31:02.69.
Ayana’s second 5,000m was astonishing, her time for the second half of the race of 14:24.94 quicker than her own championship 5,000m record.
“That was utter dominance from Ayana,” Paula Radcliffe said on the BBC. “She finished with a fast time, but the first 5k was pretty pedestrian. To finish that quickly - no wonder she destroyed the field.
“It is scary she can come out and run that fast off no racing and doubts about her fitness.”
Last summer the 25-year-old declared himself “crystal clear” when forced to answer doping doubters after obliterating the 23-year-old world record in Rio.
On Saturday’s run, she said: “I am very happy to win this title, much more than when I won the Olympic gold because I have been sick this year and didn’t expect it.”