Coventry Godiva's Tina Brown has revealed that she ran the final five laps of her European Cup steeplechase in agonising pain from a fractured leg - but still beat two other athletes.
A fortnight ago the Solihull-born runner finished ahead of rivals from Germany and Ukraine for the Great British women's team despite injuring herself at a water jump with two-thirds of the 3,000 metres remaining.
Although she didn't realise the damage she'd done at the time the 29-year-old was well aware of the discomfort in her left leg but persevered in a bid to save the GB squad from a second successive relegation in the continent's top team competition.
Sadly for her, Great Britain still finished seventh in the nine-team event, five points adrift of safety and will now drop down a league. For Brown the pain was both emotional and physical.
"The Romanian girl just ahead of me stumbled and hit the barrier so when I went over, it was shaking and I landed in the deepest section of the jump," Brown said.
"I did not twist or fall but I felt the pain immediately. I did not really realise what I had done. I carried on and hurdled the next barrier and when I landed again I was in absolute agony."
When Brown returned to this country she had an MRI scan which highlighted she had sustained a fractured fibula and would miss the chance to defend her AAA title in Manchester this weekend.
But even though her efforts were in vain and she cannot say with any certainty that she did not exacerbate the problem, the medical secretary at Heartlands Hospital does not regret her decision to continue racing.
"I knew there were only five laps to go and I was not last at the time and knowing our situation where every point could have been crucial, I went on.
"At the end of the night it could have been the difference. But the fact we went down made it twice as bad," she said.
If that wasn't awful enough it means she will not now be able to run in Manchester on Sunday which is a cruel blow for an athlete who was finding her form. "I am absolutely gutted," she said. "I was really looking forward to defending my title. It's really disappointing as I ran a 1500m personal best earlier this season and ran 9 minutes 56 seconds for the 'chase in a tropical storm so I know I was in good shape."
That encouraging effort came in torrential rain in Bordeaux last month and had convinced Brown that she had put behind her the Achilles problem that blighted her participation in her first Commonwealth Games.
What has turned into a nightmare season began s hortly after the AAA Indoors. "I cannot believe how unlucky I have been this year, it's horrendous. I'm trying to work out what I've done in a past life," she mused.
"By the end of the week after the Indoors I was trying to run through it. I had three injections out in Australia just to get me through the race.
"There was no way I was going all that way and not running. I ran it in pain but at least I was part of it."
Since she has been back Brown has spent time doing aqua jogging in a swimming pool and has been told by doctors that she could be able to run again in two weeks.
She is determined to salvage something from what should have been a promising season: "In one respect I'm quite lucky because had it been the tibia or another part of my leg I could have been out for much longer.
"The one consolation is that it wasn't a World Championship or Olympic year.
"My goal is getting to Beijing and if it had happened that year I would probably still be crying now."