Charlie Dobson On Why He's Chosen To Focus On 400m

Charlie Dobson on why he’s chosen to focus on 400m

The British athlete is excited to prove his worth over one lap at the European Championships

Charlie Dobson is relishing the opportunity to race over 400m for the first time at a senior major championships.

The 24-year-old has so far represented Great Britain on the international stage in both the 200m and 4x400m but the European Championships in Rome represents a chance for him to take his career to another level.

Charlie Dobson

Two years ago, at the last edition in Munich, Dobson finished fourth in the 200m. He was also part of the men’s 4x400m squad that claimed gold.


Then, at the World Championships in Budapest, the Brit ran the second leg in the relay, with Great Britain taking bronze.

Now, it’s all about being on the podium in the individual 400m.

Dobson comes into the championships in some form. He ran a personal best of 44.46 over the distance in Savona (May 15), which was even more impressive given he had to navigate a few puddles in his lane.

“Yeah, I’m very excited,” Dobson says. “It’s going to be my first championships doing the individual 400m. It surprised me to run 44.46 [in Savona]. I don’t think I shocked that many people but I did myself!

“To be honest, going into that race, I went in, not blind as such, but I didn’t know what I’d be able to do. You get a gauge of how you are from training but it’s never the same.

“The way I set the race up was getting to 200m, seeing it go quite well and then push round the top bend. I came off the bend, carried on and finished a lot stronger than I’ve ever done before. That made a difference.”

With that run, the Brit is now the third fastest European athlete over 400m this season, only behind Matt Hudson-Smith and Alexander Doom.

After breaking his own European 400m record of 44.26, with a stunning 44.07 at the Oslo Diamond League, Hudson-Smith decided to withdraw from Rome to focus on the Olympics. That now leaves the door open for a battle between Dobson and Doom at the Europeans, with the latter having a season’s best of 44.44.

Dobson, who was also on the same World Relays team as Hudson-Smith in the Bahamas – securing Olympic qualification in the men’s 4x400m – is unsurprisingly full of praise for his compatriot.

Men’s 4x400m winners

“He’s had a resurgence over the past couple of years and it’s really good to see,” Dobson adds. “It’s put British 400m running back on the map and that’s inspired the rest of us to push on and work harder. We want to be the best we can. It’s a big gap to close and it’s a lot harder!

“The Bahamas was pretty fun. It was the World Relays but in the way that it was set up, it made everyone feel really relaxed which was good.”

Dobson also states that Iwan Thomas has also been a huge source of inspiration and one of the main reasons behind his permanent move to the 400m.

In an interview with AW two years ago, Thomas said that if Dobson stepped up from the 200m to 400m then “he could run very fast” and “it [400m] is all his if he wants.”

Dobson reveals that he chats to the former UK 400m record-holder “now and again” for “general advice.”

After missing the Tokyo Olympics through an injury that left him on crutches, Dobson now dreams of Paris but the first step is to lay down a marker in Rome.

Charlie Dobson on why he's chosen to focus on 400m

Charlie Dobson (Getty)

“Missing Tokyo was tough,” Dobson says. “I remember sitting in a rehab centre in Bisham Abbey and watching the men’s 4x400m relay. It definitely meant I could use that as fuel for my rehab and getting back from the injury.

“I think that rehab went well and it’s clearly had a positive knock-on effect now. We’ve changed a few things so my body is paced a bit more this year which is nice.”

Dobson doesn’t just have a passion for running though. Last year, the Brit graduated from Loughborough University with a first-class degree in aeronautical engineering, a course he spent five years on. His dissertation was on the finite element analysis of a gas turbine engine.

Charlie Dobson on why he's chosen to focus on 400m

Can Dobson, also known as the ‘ginger ninja’, blast his way to European 400m glory?

The ultimate goal for the Brit is to win an Olympic or world 400m medal. If he performs well in Rome, you wouldn’t put any limits on his career.


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