Hat-trick of Qualifiers for the Harriers

With the season now up and running, the first at distance race for most of the KTH middle-distance squad saw some brilliant performances with three of the squad setting the all-important early season English Schools Qualification mark.


Sadly, this year an ES qualifier will just enable the athletes to be considered for school’s county team selection, with qualification for the championship much more stringent this year due to covid enforced restrictions to the numbers of athletes competing meaning only the top 16 English athletes based on the national rankings will be able to compete.  


The Nuneaton Spring Open hosted the event, and conditions were good if a little cool allowing some fast times to be set, with x8 of the squad setting new lifetime bests.


The main highlights of the day was a quite brilliant run from U17 Alice Bates in the 3000m slicing 37 seconds of her PB in only her third race at this distance to set a national Standard time of 10:04.79 and secure a top 6 UK ranking. Running a brutal opening 1k Bates settled into her running and remained strong throughout, much of which was solo running, to build on her solid 2k opening race 2 weeks earlier. Bates who has been in hugely impressive form in training will now switch to 1500m in search of a PB over this distance at the opening BMC grand Prix meeting at Trafford.


Alice Bates ran a National standard time over 3000m with 10:04.79


U15 Lara Turner also in great form since returning to track training set a fantastic new 5 second PB with a fabulous run full of determination and grit, setting a Junior Girls qualification mark of 4:47.75, Turner ran a well paced race which paid dividends as she held on to the fast pace and put in a strong final effort to reach the qualification mark falling on the finish line as she dipped. Turner also heads to a top 5 UK ranking at the time of writing.


Lara Turner English Schools qualifer over 1500m with 4:47.75


U20 Indie King built on her winning 2k performance 2 weeks earlier to ran a fantastic opening 800m race with an ES qualifier of 2:13.77 which is easily her best ever opening race. King set off very positively taking the race on from the start, and although feeling the pace after 500m she rallied superbly finishing strongly to suggest there is plenty more to come as she gets into her stride at her specialist event. King joins her club colleagues in the top 5 in the UK at the time of writing. In the same race Amelia McMurtrie also ran her fastest ever season opener, just half a second from her PB with 2:17.93 and she will be eyeing the 2:16 qualification time for the senior girls over the next few races.


Indienne King (102) best ever opening 800m and an ES qualifer with 2:13.77


Also competing over 3000m and setting impressive new PB’s was U17 Lucas Mansell who sliced 30 seconds from his 3k time trail best with a perfectly paced race to set an excellent time of 9:28.9 which will lift him to a UK top 30 ranking. On this evidence we will also see further big improvements from Mansell as the season progresses. U23 Elana Albery, making her debut on track over 3000m, ran a very strong race to set a fantastic time of 10:43.56 underlining her big improvements this season which saw her smash though the 19:00 mins 5k barrier.


 U15 Maggie Gancheva sliced 5 seconds from her PB in her first 800m with a splendid 2:29.73, no doubt benefiting from her good winter training block & her strong training sessions since being back on track. U15 Evie Brooker also benefiting from all the hard work over the winter set another 2 second PB in her 800m with a strong run in 2:43.48.


For the boys there were some impressive performances with Josh Geddes slicing a further 2 seconds of his 800m time with 2:02.38 just 0.1 off his PB, so on this evidence it looks like he will be ducking under the magical 2:00 barrier soon. U15 Nathan Lamb also set a new PB in the 800m with a strong race for 2:25.21. U13 Harlee Hooker making his track 1500m debut set a fantastic time of 5:30.67 and we should see this time tumbling during the season as he gains more track experience & fitness.


It's early season so nobody will be getting carried away with the early season rankings, but to have x3 athletes set ES qualifiers so early on bodes well for the season, with others in the squad keen to join them over the coming weeks the season is shaping up well.


Well Done to everyone who ran.