BASILDON Athletics Club member Emma Houchell admits it will be ‘a dream come true’ to represent England in the Rennes 10k International.

Houchell will compete in the event being held in Brittany, France, next month.

And Houchell, of the under-23 women category, cannot wait to wear the England vest.

Houchell, 22, said: “Getting an England vest has been a dream come true.

“I never imagined it would happen when I was at school, having only ever made one English Schools team. I can only thank England Athletics for the opportunity.

“My training has got more intense over the last few years, with my shortest run being 10 miles in the winter. The self-discipline has been essential.”

And Houchell, who has been a member of Basildon Athletics Club for nine years, admits her club-mates have spurred her on.

Houchell added: “Watching the dedication of other athletes has definitely been the biggest influence on my training.

“I’ve learnt not to over-analyse some of your times in sessions because it’s easy to underestimate the shape you are in when you’re training on tired legs. Plus, it means you get to really appreciate that invincible feeling after a taper week before racing.

“The highlight of my racing season this year was the Edinburgh Half-Marathon because I’d done a lot of specific work for it. I’ve been averaging about 65 miles a week.”

Houchell also believes training at Font Romeu, which has hosted the likes of Mo Farah, has helped her progression.

“It was nice to be able to get away to Font Romeu in the Pyrénées this year to go altitude training,” confirmed Houchell.

“It’s such a beautiful place to run and is not too high that you can’t maintain intensity.

“It also gave me a chance to really focus on rest and recovery in between sessions, which was really important.”

And while Houchell may have been taken aback by the call-up for the Rennes 10k International, Basildon Athletics Club chairman Steve Reynolds insists he was not surprised by the news.

Reynolds said: “Emma has always been a dedicated and committed athlete and it is no surprise that she has managed this fantastic achievement.

“Emma is a wonderful example of someone who goes that extra mile and gives her maximum in training and when competing.

“It is a great honour for Basildon to have such a talented young woman representing our club at the highest level.

“I have no doubt that she will continue to put in the hard work and do both our club and her country proud.”