EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon Track Club Elite’s Neil Gourley said he felt “better than ever” after winning his 1,500-meter qualifying heat at the 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on March 1.
Unfortunately, the first-year pro out of Virginia Tech never got to the starting line for the final.
“I came off Friday’s heat feeling better than ever,” Gourley said. “I was feeling fresh on Saturday, and I couldn’t have been more ready for the final the next day. (But) I woke up on Sunday morning with stomach pains which developed into vomiting, cold sweats and shivering. I didn’t give up hope of competing, and tried to rehydrate and salvage my health in time for the final.”
Gourley, a 24-year-old native of Glasgow, convinced his doctor to allow him to warm up for the final under the supervision of the team coach on the “off chance that I could still try to race even if I wouldn’t be at my best.”
But it wasn’t to be for the reigning British Indoor 1,500m champion.
“When I warmed up, I had no power whatsoever in my legs and balance was an issue,” he said. “At that point, I consulted with the doctor again, and elected to withdraw. I’m devastated at the timing, but in order to get over this the only option will be to continue to improve and perform at a higher level. That’s what I will do.”
Gourley came into the European Indoor Championships with the fourth-best PR among the 28 competitors in the 1,500m field at 3 minutes, 38.32 seconds. He is scheduled to join the rest of the OTC Elite team for altitude training in Flagstaff, Ariz., this weekend.
“I told him to get healthy and move on positively,” OTC Elite coach Mark Rowland said. “Once he gets some time to reflect, I think he’ll realize that the experiences gained will put him in a good position for the summer.”