Isobel 's Story
Olympic History: Olympic debutant
Highlights: Third NCAA 10,000m
Coach: Riley Cocks
Year Born: 1995
State Born: SA
In recent years Isobel Batt-Doyle has certainly had a challenging journey in athletics, experiences which have shaped her focus for future study and a career path.
On the track she has come out the other side and will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo. Coming from a family of runners, Izzi was destined to be an athlete. Her parents ran marathons, trail races and competed in ultra running. Aged eight, Batt-Doyle followed her older sister to little athletics. When she was nine she ran in the famous Adelaide running event–the City Bay Fun Run, running six kilometres holding her step dad's hand. From age 10 she was regularly making the state team for cross country and started track aged about 14. She ran throughout high school, but made a commitment to athletics when her 18th birthday was the night before the City Bay Fun Run and rather than partying with her friends she went to bed early to prepare.
She had considered herself not at a high level, but thought accepting a US college scholarship for running might be the best way to progress. Initially she went to a junior college in New York, because it was a great city to live in, then transferred to University of Washington in Seattle for her second year. She made modest initial improvement in the 1500m, 3000m and steeplechase in 2015. In 2016 and 2017 she graduate to the 5000m and 10,000m and made her debut for Australia at the 2017 World University Games in the 10000m, but suffered some major injuries later in the year. In 2018 she ‘redshirted' her eligibility due to injury, but returned to competition in 2019 and off limited training, due to another injury, she won her regional 10,000m and placed third in the NCAAs. Later in the year she was sixth in the 10,000m at the World University Games, but was again injured
"In the span of two years in my collegiate career in the NCAA I suffered from six stress fractures in my feet," said Batt-Doyle.
"The most challenging time was my first serious bone injury in 2017 when I fractured my navicular and three metatarsals in the same foot during the NCAA Cross Country Championships. I finished the race but I was on crutches and in a boot for six weeks and didn't run for four months".
She particularly recalls how tough 2017 was as she described her foot was ‘trashed' with the four stress fractures. She described it as an awful time-walking around the large Washington University campus in a moon-boot on crutches in the snow.
"I was living alone across the world from my family and at times I felt very lost and uncertain. There were many times where I considered quitting running competitively but thankfully I stuck out those hard times and am stronger for it!" She analysed the reason for the number of stress fractures was over racing, over training and shoes one size too small. But she says she built resilience and strength during this period.
Her coach at the time in Washington was dismissed from the athletics program due to a poor culture his view and comments on athlete size. Although Batt-Doyle does not blame the coach for her injuries, mainly because she was strong and she says "I knew what healthy looks like." However it did spark an interest in future study for Batt-Doyle.
Back in Australia in 2019, she built-up over the 2019/20 summer before COVID shut down competition. In late 2020 her boyfriend Riley Cocks took over her coaching and her 2020/21 summer was full of highs. She ran significant PBs over 3000m, 5000m and on the road. The highlight was second at Zatopek 10,000m in 31:43.26. It was a 37 seconds PB, elevated from 21st to 10th on the Australian all-time list and only missed the Olympic standard by 18 seconds.
In late May she headed to Europe where she ran an Olympic 5000m qualifier of 15:04.10. It was a big commitment as she would need to remain outside of Australia before the Olympics or face two weeks in quarantine. "It was a big commitment to be away from my family, my business and my studies for three months in these uncertain times but there was no question about it, I knew it was the right thing to do and I'm very glad I took the risk and went for it".
While at college in America Batt-Doyle studied Arts with Honours in Psychology (with a Minor in Nutritional Sciences) and upon return to Australia commenced a Masters/PhD in Clinical Psychology with research in the field of eating disorders at Flinders University.
In 2020 during COVID, and with gyms closed, there was a running boom with increasing numbers of people choosing to jog in groups to keep fit and socialise. Batt-Doyle is a big believer that running and exercise can have a huge impact on an individual's happiness and well-being, so in 2020 she and her coach Riley Cocks founded a running group and coaching service RunAsOne. Batt-Doyle's passion and love for running is unparalleled. She is passionate about promoting positive body image and healthy eating habits, especially within female sports where disordered eating and body image concerns are extremely prevalent. She hopes to one day work in the field as a Clinical Psychology in the treatment and prevention of eating disorders.