Three of Bolton United Harriers university athletes travelled across the Pennines to compete in their first British University and College Sports Indoor Athletics Championships. Instead of pulling on the blue vest of Bolton United harriers they wore their university colours.
First year student Ben To, competing for UCLAN, lined up in the 60m against some of the best U23 athletes in the country. Despite running 7.15 which is just outside his PB of 7.13 he could only manage 3rd in his heat and just missed out on a place in the semi-finals.
Edge Hill student Rebecca Weekes and University of Birmingham student Olivia Kimbowa were drawn against each other in the heats of the women’s 400m. Both got away to good starts but Olivia was really strong over the last 100m and won the heat in 58.61 seconds, a new indoor PB. Hurdles specialist Rebecca in one of her first races of the season also ran a big indoor PB of 60.72 seconds finishing third.
In the semi- final Olivia was drawn in lane 4 against the eventual winner of the 400m. She knew she had to work hard to be in contention at the half way stage and she valiantly tried to stay in touch with the leaders. Although she finished third in the race she smashed her lifetime best with a time of 57.60 seconds.
A delighted Olivia explained “57 seconds has been my target 400m time for the last couple years, so I’m over the moon to have finally reached that new lifetime best this weekend. To have won my first national medal with the amazing relay girls It really shows that all the hard work Les and I have put into training is going well. Training is now aimed at the outdoor season, which starts in April. I’m really excited to run even quicker times and compete at more national championships this year”.
Coach Les Hall was also really pleased with the performance. “Olivia can definitely run much quicker outdoors and I hope she will run mid 56’s. If she manages to improve further it will book her a place in the EA senior England Championships and should see her ranked in the national top 70, hot on the heels of training partner Hannah Kelly”.
Both girls also competed for their respective university 4x200m relay teams, both teams winning a place in the final. The Birmingham team proved too strong for Edge Hill and finished a fantastic 2nd, winning Olivia her first national medal. Both will go back to a period of hard training in readiness for this year’s outdoor season.