Weekend, 17-18th June 2017
The sun was shining brightly in Bedford for the England Athletics’ U20 and U23 national championships, as four Bolton United Harriers pulled on the blue vest to pit themselves against the elite of British Athletics.
Jonny Kay, competing in his first national track championships, raced in the U23 800m. It was a slow and tactical race and Jonny found himself towards the back of the field with 200m to go. Despite a fantastic sprint finish, Jonny came an agonising third in the heat and failed to qualify for the final by just one place.
Chris Mann competed in the High Jump and recorded a season’s best in the U23 men’s high jump, with 2.05m to finish sixth.
Georgia Lever entered the U20 Long Jump knowing that she would need to leap a massive PB to challenge for a medal. In the second round, she recorded her best jump of 5.39m, which yielded tenth position.
U17 sprinter, Hannah Kelly, moved up an age group to compete against the best U20 female sprinters in the country at the 200m. Hannah, still only 16, was desperately trying to run a fast time to try to gain international selection. Hannah, and coach Les Hall, had carefully planned her race strategy and had decided rather than manage the rounds, to use the heat as a time trial. As ever, Hannah’s competitive edge came to the forefront. With the UK number 1 athlete on her inside lane she was really up against it, but a superb bend saw her enter the home straight in a strong second. Hannah powered through to the finish line and clocked an amazing 24.25 seconds, which was 0.25 seconds inside her PB!
In the semi-final, once again Hannah lined up in the same race as the UK number 1, Maya Bruney. She followed her amazing run in the heat to finish second again and qualify for the final in another exceptional time of 24.46s. All had high hopes for the final; Hannah got a fantastic start and came off the bend in third place. However, her previous two races and the heat took their toll – she tired in the last 60m to finish seventh in a time of 24.71s – fantastic given the step up in age category.