A large number of Bolton United Harriers made the trip to Sheffield last weekend to compete at the North of England athletics championships.
Hannah Kelly, who competed for Great Britain at last year’s European Indoor Championships had a point to prove. After an injury hit outdoor season, the clubs premier 400m runner is targeting this years World Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March where she once again hopes to pull on a GB vest.
It’s always nerve wracking for athletes competing at the first big championships of the year, but Hannah didn’t disappoint. After dominating her semi-final, she lead the final from gun to tape winning in a time of 53.14, which is a new championship best performance eclipsing the previous best by nearly half a second.
Further Bolton glory came in the form of Jonny Kay who won Gold and Silver over the 800m and 1500m, respectively.
He began with a silver medal in the 1500m on Saturday, however, it was in his lesser experienced event on Sunday that he really shone. Kay was fired up by the previous days heartbreak and used it as fuel to win both his heat and indeed the final in 1:54.29. He closed the last 200m in just 26 seconds with the winning margin a dramatic 0.01 seconds, to become the northern 800m champion, his first regional title over this distance.
Coached by Dave Shaw, Jonny is really looking to focus on the outdoor season this year, and towards retaining his northern 1500m title outdoors, nationals and ultimately, the British Championships.
Bolton’s 3rd gold medal of the weekend came from U17; Cherie Ufuoma, last years English Schools 4th place ran strongly in every round of her 60m and won the final convincingly in a time of 7.70 seconds. She will now go into the EA National Championships full of confidence that she can win a medal.
Senior sprinter, Ben To is pushing hard to gain entry into this years British Championships. He managed to record personal bests in the heat, semi final and final of the senior 60m but was agonisingly just 0.04 of a second outside the qualifying time with 6.89 seconds his best of the day. He has two more races before entry deadline but will continue to work hard to achieve his goal.
Will Tomlinson, a training partner of Kay, who had an eye-catching end to 2023, taking over 90 seconds off his 10k PB at Wilmslow in November to clock 33:00 began his 2024 campaign in similarly impressive fashion. Making his debut over 3000m, and making his first appearance at a major championship, he handled the pressure superbly to clock 9:07 finishing a highly commendable 5th place. Will shall now focus his attention on the Trafford 10k in March.
Isobel Hall, making her 800m championship debut didn’t disappoint. She ran a perfect race in the semi final to smash her PB by 5 seconds and then came a fantastic 5th in the final.
Elsewhere, Mark Lintott and Freya Cash made their respective semi finals in the U20 men’s 200m and the U17 women’s 300m. Mercy Okunade also ran a PB in the U17 Men’s 60m of 7.55 seconds and made the semi-final. Well done to all Bolton athletes who competed.