Six years of injury heartache took its toll but Sally Brown can now finally say she has completed a World Para Athletics European Championships.
Not since London 2012 had the Northern Ireland para-athlete competed on the big stage, with her home Paralympic Games her only source of major competition experience.
But as she safely crossed the line and took off her spikes for one final time in Berlin, all the memories of old came flooding back.
Now aged 23, Brown is a rather different athlete to the teenager thrust into the spotlight of sport’s pinnacle, wondering if she’d ever be back competing for Great Britain.
Three events in just a few days was certainly a handful but Brown could have no regrets at her European experience, providing a platform she has cried out for for so long.
“If you’d told me last year that I’d be finishing a Championships with only race pain, I’d laugh at you – I’m really happy to be standing here now,” she said.
“This is way more than I expected this year and it puts me in a really good starting point for winter and to come back and give it my all next year.
“I’ll mostly be looking at the 400m, if I can get a second year of strength in me then that will be really good and it’s about getting in more training.
“I’ve been doing it for a long time but it’s about getting used to running again, I love the 200m and I want to keep that going – my coach wants me to do the 100m as well but I’m going to try and persuade him otherwise!”
Brown’s week in Berlin finished with the T47 200m, an event she longed to come at the start of her time in Germany in what was her biggest medal opportunity.
But a place on the podium wasn’t to come, a time of 27.93 seconds enough for fourth place to add to her efforts across 100m and 400m earlier in the week.
The latter provided a season’s best 1:04.25 and it’s that memory the 23-year-old is looking to cherish, with less than two years to go until the next Paralympic Games at Tokyo 2020.
“I was definitely feeling the two races in my legs coming into the 200, the bend is normally the best bit for me but my legs just said no,” added Brown, who was born without part of her left arm.
“That was a bit disappointing but I’ve come and done a season’s best earlier on, but I really did feel everything else from my legs in there.
“I love the 200m and I would have liked to have that first and really give it a proper go, but that’s how Championships go, I can still stop and be happy looking back on it all.”
British Athletics works alongside UK Sport and the National Lottery to support the delivery of success at the world’s most significant sporting events, principally the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They do this via the funded initiative, the World Class Programme, one part of the British Athletics pathway.