Alice Bates GB call up!

Kettering Town Harrier Alice Bates has been selected to represent Great Britain & Northern Ireland at 1500m at the European U18 Championships being held in Israel, Jerusalem between July 4-7th. The Championships with see the best athletes from the 48 athletics member federations do battle over 4 days of intense competition in the religious capital of the world.


17 year old Alice Bates will do battle with the best athletes in Europe at the U18 Championships in Jerusalem.


This is the third U18 Championships which is growing in stature, delayed from the original date in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, the previous championships in Gyor in 2018 saw Kettering based athlete Emily Williams winning a brilliant Silver medal in the 1500m.


This is a magnificent achievement for 17 year old Bates who is the latest athlete to be selected to represent her country from Kettering Town Harriers spanning 6 years. The Northamptonshire based and Northampton Schools for Boys 6th form student wins her first full International GB vest competing in the 1500m after setting the qualification standard at the last Watford Grand Prix meeting. She goes into the competition effectively ranked 8th in Europe for eligible athletes, and will be confident she can improve on her time this season.


Alice Bates will compete in the 1500m after setting a European U18 Qualification time of 4:25.66 


Alice has been consistently improving since joining the Harriers in late 2018, and she has emerged from the difficult period during the pandemic in terrific shape setting PB’s in both the 1500m & 3000m where she is UK ranked 2nd U20 as a bottom year athlete.


Coach Shane Smith was full of praise for his protégée

“Alice is one of the hardest working athletes in the squad and completely fearless in training where she will routinely compete against some of the best males athletes in the group”.   


“This is an important dynamic for the large training squad at Kettering and I’m a firm believer that this type of regular inter-squad competition has been instrumental in developing Alice and others in the group.  


“She has had a brilliant start to the season and her place in the GB team is well deserved, and will be a great experience to help propel her to the next level”.


Alice was equally delighted with her selection


“The selection meeting when athletes are notified if they made the cut or not was tough. It was an afternoon meeting so athletes were not notified until early evening, we received the call at tea time and I was over the moon”.


“It’s been an exciting few days, sorting the GB kit and travel details and I now just want to concentrate on getting my head down in training and finalising my preparations and I will sit down with my coach to discuss these”.


“it’s a massive opportunity and I’m incredibly proud to have been selected for my first GB vest” she added.


Alice plans to compete over 1km at the next Kettering Town floodlit open on the 28th before jetting off to Jerusalem on the Friday, and her Coach is planning to join her in time for her heats which take place at 08:45 on the Monday.


As an aside there was less favourable news for training partner Alice Bennett, who was on the long list for the 800m at the same Championships after setting the Qualification time in late May after learning she did not make the final cut. She is on standby as one of 5 reserves, and it’s unfortunate that two older girls have run faster times this season. She will no doubt get further opportunities to earn her first full GB vest in the coming years.  


We wish Alice Bates the very best of luck in Jerusalem!



Alice Bates Journey


Alice Bates joined the Harriers at the tail end of 2018 from her existing club R&N in a bid to improve her running where she already enjoyed a healthy UK top 100 ranking for both the 1500 & 3k. During 2019 she quickly settled into the new training regime and within her first 5 months she made some impressive improvements becoming County Champion/ County Schools Champions for the first time and achieving her highest ever placing at Anglian Trophy/ English schools. Her forward momentum continued on track with a big improvement in her 1500m & 3k times  (A 9 & 30 sec improvement respectively), and she also set an English schools qualifying time but sadly missed the cut for the Northants team with the very limited numbers Northants were allowed.


2020 was a very difficult year for Alice, she continued well in the XC season but then her season was severely affected when the Covid pandemic hit, which effective prevented any form of training with squads or supervised sessions by coaches.  Apart from the severely disrupted training & competitions, Alice also suffered the misfortune of breaking her leg during training from home due to the enforced changes brought about by covid. Alice worked incredibly hard on rehab putting in some great training sessions to regain her fitness but did not race for the rest of 2020 concentrating instead in getting herself back to full fitness.


In 2021 Alice emerged a better athlete, undeterred by her injury, ongoing disrupted training and  lack of competitions in the XC season she set a range of impressive PB’s on track & road (12 & 40 second improvements in her 1500m/3k times respectively) and ran her first English Schools Track Championship finishing in 10thplace. Alice also set an astonishing 1 min 40 sec improvement in her park run time, and ran a 18:01 5k road time which saw her finish with her highest ever UK rankings; 7th in the 1500m, 16th in the 3k, 26th over 5k, and 11th in the 5k park run! Alice was to finish the track season on a high being selected to represent England at the UK School Games in the 1500m. In the autumn Alice then ran some hugely impressive performances at the Road Relays, anchoring the Kettering U17W team to a Midland Counties Gold medal, and 2 weeks later a National Road Relays team Bronze Medal, and in the process she won her first National Title winning Gold for setting the fastest leg at the National Road Relays. 


Into 2022 and Alice continued her momentum setting new PB’s in both the 3k (20 second improvement) and 2nd bottom year U20 in the UK, her park run time of 17:12 ranks her 9th on the all-time list for U17 W, and in her favoured event Alice sliced 4 seconds off her 1500m PB to set an U18 European Qualification mark and also move to 2nd in the UK as a bottom year U20.