8 is Great for Harriers English Schools qualifiers

A total of 8 Kettering Town Harriers athletes have been selected for the National English Schools Championships between the 9-11th July at Sports city in Manchester.


This is a record for the club, and places the Harriers ahead of all the local clubs which is a stunning achievement for the club and testament to all the hard work the athletes, coaches and support staff have put in over the past year under the most difficult of circumstances during the Covid pandemic.


This is especially significant this year English Schools have scaled down the completion which effectively means only the top 16 English athletes will be invited to compete. In normal years the championships, which lays claim to being the 4th largest completion in the world, the cut would be top 50 English athletes.


7 of the qualifiers (left to right) Katie Gibson, Alice Bennett, Indienne King, Jacob Asher-Relf, Ryan Amesimeku, Alice bates & Lara Turner


The Middle distance squad has led the way with six athletes selected from the Middle Distance squad under the guidance of the coaching team of Shane Smith, John Cairns & Cheryl Lamb. Head coach Shane smith was full of praise for the hard working athletes “This season has been the most successful ever in terms of athletes obtaining selection for English Schools and this is in the main due to the hard work the athletes put in over the past year, particularly during the last lockdown at the beginning of the year”. He added “This is even more impressive with only the top 16 English athletes being selected, all six athletes who qualified show that hard work pays off, they are an absolute credit to the sport, and I hope they all enjoy this top level competition”.


U15 Lara Turner 1500m – This is Lara’s first attempt at ES qualification and she has set two impressive times within the ES qualification mark and is ranked UK 17th with 4:46.66 set at the Milton Keynes BMC meeting


U15 Jacob Asher-Relf 800m, - Jacob has only just returned to running following a year out for growth related issues, and the effects of the pandemic. He quickly regained his fitness and speed and after just two races set the 5th fastest time in the UK & a national standard time of 2:02.08 at the Kettering floodlit open.


U17 Alice Bates 3000m – this is her first time at these championships she has had a National Standard time for 3k (10:00.40 set at the Kettering floodlit open) & 1500m and has enjoyed a superb season, and can consider herself very unfortunate not to be selected in 2019 after securing the time for 1500m.


U17 Alice Bennett 800m – Alice who is a bottom year athlete also has national Standard times for 800m (2:09.89 set at the BMC meeting at Watford) & for 1500m and is enjoying a brilliant season setting 9 personal bests in 5 events so far, Alice narrowly missed making the final when she competed at ES in 2019 over 800m


U19 Amelia McMurtrie 800m – The current Midland Counties 800m champions has never been selected for these championships, she has had a breakthrough season running a superb new 4 second PB of 2:13.63 at a Kettering Open and she makes the cut in her last year as a school age athlete before taking up her University degree in the states.


U19 Indienne King 800m - Indie has enjoyed a whirlwind season since joining the Harriers in December, setting 7 PB’s in 4 events and securing her first GB vest and a silver medal in the England Athletics U20 Championships in the 800m, Indie will go into ES as the favourite and she hopes to win her first national championship competing for Leicestershire.


The other athletes selected from Kettering for English schools are seasoned Hammer thrower U17 Katie Gibson who is currently UK ranked number 3 athlete with a throw of  49.61m at the Charnwood open, this will be Katie’s 3rd English Schools championship and she hope to go at least one better than her 4th place finish in 2019.


U17 sprinter Ryan Amesimeku who joined the Harriers in October 2019, after participating in schools based athletics since his primary school. Ryan has seen tremendous improvements under the guidance of Sprint Coach Antoinette Inniss-Haycox and set a series of PB’s this season in the 100m with 11.16 ranking him 17th in the UK.


There are many more athletes in the squads credibly close to achieving the English Schools standard, and the success enjoyed by the club in 2021 will hopefully inspire others to follow their lead.


Well done to all 8 athletes, and we wish you all the very best luck for the championships.