Finding the right race for your athletes is always a challenge for a coach, especially when your athlete is performing at the sharp end of their age group nationally. So it was with frustration that last Thursday I saw a start list for the under-20 Women’s 3,000 metres at Crystal Palace in Athletics Weekly that included the top young female 3,000 metre runners but didn’t include Hannah. A quick athlete/coach conflab saw the decision taken that despite 2 hard sessions in 3 days on the Tuesday and Thursday we would try and secure a last minute entry. Apparently, according to UKA, Hannah’s invitation must have ‘got lost in the post’ and they would be delighted to have her run.
It is a shame that a great race was not screened on TV. After leading most of the way a resurgent Beth Potter (who is returning from injury) who ran 9:27.50 was just pipped by world junior eleventh placer Emelia Gorecka in 9:27.02. Behind them in third place Lily Partridge ran 9:34.17 for a PB and Emily Stewart was fourth in 9:39.15. A storming last 600 metres saw Hannah Alderson move up to fifth place taking over 5 seconds off her PB with a 9:41.22 clocking (not bad for someone who started 2010 with a 10:06 PB). In doing so Hannah turned the tables on England Schools 3,000 metre champion Grace Nicholls who finished sixth in 9:45.53.
A great result that left athlete and coach wondering whether more notice and a couple of easier days might have been enough to have seen Hannah claim a first sub 9:40 clocking. The very positive side though was a clear indication that Hannah is now ready to mix it with the very best of her age in the country over 3,000 metres.