BY TOM POLLAK
Teenager Georgie Clarke qualified for next month’s English Schools Championships in Manchester with an outstanding run at a British Milers Club PB Classic meeting in Street, Somerset, on Saturday.
Making her debut in a BMC event, Clarke finished ninth out of 15 runners in her race to cross the line in a personal best of 4:41.69, just inside the English Schools senior girls’ qualifying time of 4:42.00. Her previous best was 4:44.96 at the English Schools Championships in Birmingham in 2019.
Clarke said: “Millfield School was a lovely location for my first BMC and I really enjoyed it. With great track conditions and competitors I felt confident pushing on and was delighted to cross the line with the clock showing a PB.”
The 17-year-old, a student at Emmanual School in Wandsworth, hopes her performance will be enough to make the London Schools team to compete in Manchester on the second weekend in July. If so, it will be the second time Clarke will have competed in the prestigious English Schools Championships.
She made her debut there as an intermediate girl in 2019 when she finished ninth in the 1,500m in Birmingham in 4:45.30. She qualified for the final by finishing seventh in her heat in a personal best of 4:44.96.
She is one of at least three Hercules Wimbledon athletes who look set to compete in this summer’s English Schools championships which were not held in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The other two are sprinter Freddie Arkell and steeplechaser Ellen Weir.
Arkell, a pupil at St Cecilia’s School in Southfields, is Britain’s top U17 200m sprinter this summer with his 22.0 run at Lee Valley towards the end of April. He is also the fourth ranked U17 100m runner with 11.03 at the South London Athletics Network meeting at the Davi Weir Leisure Centre, Carshalton, on May 16, although he has a faster wind-assisted 10.94 time posted at Lee Valley towards the end of April.
He aims to clinch his place for the English championships when he competes in the London Schools Championships at Battersea Park on June 12.
The third Hercules Wimbledon athlete in line for English schools selection is Ellen Weir, who posted an English Schools qualifying time for the 1,500m steeplechase at Bury St Edmunds.
Twelve of 38 Hercules Wimbledon athletes who competed at an open meeting at Battersea Park posted PBs. Seven Hercules Wimbledon runners won their events with over-45 and over-50 veterans Gina Galbraith (5:02.7) and Helen Davies (2:35.00) fastest over 1500m and 800m respectively. A third veteran winner was Andrew Davies in the over-45 1,500m (5:05.5).
Charlotte Gurney (2:27.9) was top U15 girl 800m runner, Emily Dunipace (2:39.3) fastest U13 girl and Enoki Calvert-Ansari (2:41.0) top U11 girl, all PBs. U17 girls Cliona O’Brien (2:34.2) and Charlotte Lam (2:41.3), U15 girl Lottie Harvey (2:35.0), and U13 girl Iona Alexander (2:39.7) also set 800m PBs.
U20 Edward Newton (4:29.2), U17 Nathan Mansfield (4:44.1), who won his race, and U15 Benjy Street (4:33.4) also posted PB 1,500m times, as did senior woman Naomi Porter (67.2) in the 400m.
U15 boys Tom Davies (4:53.1), Ibrahim Mohamed Achchi (4:54.6), Hugo Kelly (4:55.2), Noah Fernandez (5:11.6) and Michael Banks (5:16.1), U15 girl Grace Eminson (4:59.9), U17 woman Georgia Winter (5:03.9), U13 boys Zachary Elliott (5:05.3) and Harry Allen (5:17.2) and U20 man Freddie Hearn (5:05.9) all posted lifetime best times.
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