VIDEO: Loren Bleaken strikes gold at England Athletics Indoor Championships
Team Bath AC coach Adrian Clover could reflect on another highly-successful weekend as three of his athletes finished among the medals in national competitions.
Pride of place once again went to Marshfield’s Loren Bleaken, who followed up last year’s under-17 women’s 800m success at the England Athletics Indoor Championships by winning the under-20s title.
The 17-year-old made the step up look easy as she dominated the race from the gun, setting a new championship record of 2mins 6.78secs in the process.
“I was really up for this event and I did what I wanted to do, so I am just incredibly happy,” said Bleaken.
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“I just missed the qualifying time of 2:06.5 for the European Junior Championships this summer but I’ll get that easily next time.”
Bleaken is an experienced campaigner on the boards but it was training partner George Chapman’s first time competing over 800m, so the 15-year-old’s bronze medal in a personal best time of 1:58.15 was impressive.
“George only ran indoors for the first time the week before when he did a 400m, so this was a pretty good 800m debut,” said Clover.
It was also Chapman’s first national medal of any colour – a landmark achievement for the teenager.
Completing a good weekend for the Clover training group was Alex Carter, who opted for the more traditional winter pursuit of cross country and was in Sunderland for the English Championships.
Friday’s six-hour trek proved worthwhile as Carter finished third in the under-17 men’s race, claiming his third bronze medal in the prestigious event having also made the podium in the under-13 and 15 age groups.
“I was only four seconds behind the winner and was given the same time as the lad in second,” said Carter, with just a hint of disappointment.
“I always seem to come third but I have to be happy with that. It was a strong field and I ran a good race. I was close to winning but I can’t be unhappy with third – and I got my medal from Steve Cram!”
As Clover observed, the conditions of snow and mud didn’t favour Carter and he is still keeping his training at a low level to allow room for improvement as he gets older.
“I told Alex that if he can keep finishing third in this event through the under-20 and senior age groups then he’ll be running for Britain one day,” his coach added.
Back to the indoors and there was a third Team Bath medal for Eliza Reid in the under-20 women’s 200m.
The 16-year-old, who is coached by Simon Byrne, ran a personal best of 24.87 in the heats before clocking 25.09 in the final to secure her first national medal, having finished fourth last year.
Reid, a sixth-form student at King Edward’s School, is the reigning South West under-17s 200m champion.
Emily Hutchinson was fourth in the under-17 women’s shot, as was Elise Gautlett in the under-20 women’s pole vault. Gold went to Bristol & West’s Lucy Bryan, who does most of her training at the University of Bath.
Alan Every also made the trip to Sunderland for the English Cross Country Championships and finished 703rd in the senior men’s race in 1hr 19secs.
* Team Bath’s Katherine Turner finished seventh in the 1,500m at the British Students Indoor Championships in a time of 4:37.21.
Club colleague Josh Taylor was runner-up in the Castle Combe Chilly 10 road race in 36:43, while James Taylor was tenth in 41:04.
David Vaudin won the veterans’ over-50s prize after finishing fifth overall of the 127 runners in the Calne Smartt Smasher 10 multi-race, covering the distance in 37mins 52secs.
* The Chronicle’s athletics coverage is sponsored by Running Bath, Bath’s specialist running shop. Catering for runners of all abilities, from complete beginners to experienced athletes, it offers a wide range of running footwear, apparel and accessories.
Visit Running Bath at 18 High Street, Bath, call 01225 462555 or log on to www..co.uk.