Running at the National Athletics Indoor Age Group Championships at the English Institute of Sport Mansfield Harriers Under 17 star Luke Duffy tasted national glory for the first time. Racing in the 1500 metres Duffy went in as pre race favourite and handled the pressure superbly as he took the title in a time of 4.03.42. In a tactical affair where the lead swapped round several times Duffy started to stretch the field in the last 400 metres and a scintillating 44 seconds for the last 300 metres was good enough to see him finally pull away from his rivals in the home straight.
To cap a remarkable day in Mansfield history a second medal was won in the Under 15 girls shot put as the outstanding Kelsey Pearce had a great competition to gain a bronze. Going into the competition with a best of 11.06 metres Pearce had a superb series with distances of 11.09,11.47 and a monster throw of 11.66 metres in a thrilling competition.
Bethany Williams ran in the Under 20 ladies 800 metres and narrowly missed out on the final. After a long lay of due to tonsillitis she is now improving with every run to record an indoor personal best of 2.13.58 and less than a second from qualifying.
A clash of fixtures also had the English Cross Country Championships at Wollaton Park Nottingham over the same weekend and the Mansfield club had five men complete the very muddy and at places swamp like course. First man home was the ever reliable Jordan Boam in 700th place followed by Phil Shaw 798th, Garry Hodgkins 1138th Craig Linacre 1176th and Graeme Baguley in 1633rd position.
The ladies had three athletes finish with first back for Mansfield being Bev Armstrong in 430th, followed by Sharon Armitage 629th and Jemma Arbon 712th. Katie Lancaster was the only other competitor placing 191st in the Under 17 ladies race.
On the roads two of the clubs ladies Karen Kowalski and Diane Stewart raced in the Derby midweek series. Racing over the classic distance of one mile both recorded new best times with Kowalski recording 7.19 and Stewart hot on her heels with 7.21. Both went on to run the 5k race minutes later with Kowalski 25.34 and Stewart 26.14.
Four Harriers competed in the Darley Dale trail race which featured some challenging climbs and plenty of mud. Running in the 15k race which turned out to be closer to 17k Paul Butcher was first Mansfield athlete home followed by Maddy Collinge and Ester Sinclair who crossed the line in 2 hours. Running the 6k route Jess Brieder finished in 39 minutes.
Picture below of Luke Duffy, U17 1500 metreNational Champion.