Impressive Sunderland Harrier eyes World V35 800m

Sunderland Harrier Vicky Haswell.
Sunderland Harrier Vicky Haswell.

Sunderland Harrier Vicky Haswell has resurrected her athletics career and her performances are starting to catch the eye.

But it is through her change of events, from the heptathlon to endurance runner, that her achievements are all the more praise worthy.

The Doxford Park athlete was part of the Sunderland team that won silver medals in the British Masters’ Road Relay Championships at Sutton Coldfield during the summer.

And just a few weeks ago she helped the Wearsiders win their first ever team medals in the North Eastern Counties Cross Country Senior Championships, where they finished third at Redcar.

Through finishing 11th, she has now put herself forward for consideration for a place on the North East team for the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Loughborough on the March 10.

It was Sunderland women’s team manager, Eddie Maddison, who persuaded the Farringdon Fire Fighter to get back into the sport in 2015.

She had joined the Harriers’ previously in 1991, aged 12, after showing much promise in school athletics at St Anthony’s.

By 1993 she had won an English Schools’ bronze medal in the Junior Girls’ 800m (2.16.99) in a club record that still stands to this day.

She was also the first county athlete to represent Durham in all three English Schools’ Championships in one year.

But it was not in middle distance races that her performances continued to flourish. It was in the multi events that her talent shone through.

The 38-year-old said: “At the age of 15, I was recommended by a coach at Sunderland to join a multi events group at Jarrow and Hebburn AC, and from 1995 to 2008, I was a medal winner in every heptathlon and high jump in the North East Championships.”

Haswell’s talent was noticed and she was selected to compete for Great Britain in the World Double Heptathlon Championships in 2000 where she finished third and in 2004 where she was runner-up. In 2005 she was second in the Scottish Indoor Combined Events in Glasgow.

It was in 2009 that she retired from the heptathlon after having her son, William, now aged eight.

She added: “I continued running for fitness until rejoining Sunderland. Then I got down to some decent training and continued to improve.

“It was in October 2016 when my training was taken over by club coach Simon Taylor.

“I credit him for my massive improvement and feel there is so much more to come.”

Her times during the past year for 5km have improved from 20.55 to 19.39 and 10km from 46.13 to 44.41.

They are due for further revision and this should be accomplished during 2018.

“My aim for the year is for success on the track. I plan to compete in the North Eastern Senior Championships over 800m during the summer, culminating in my biggest challenge, the World V35 800m Championships in Malaga in September.

“Since Simon took over my training, my confidence has grown along with my drive and determination to do well for the club.

“I train a very varied programme six days a week devised by Simon with my own personal aims and objectives.

“I wouldn’t be running so well without his coaching. I’m 38 and feel as though I’m fitter and stronger than ever.

“It’s a challenge at times being a single parent with a full time job, but I have a great network around me.

“William loves cheering me on and is my chief supporter which makes me so proud.”

H Sunderland Strollers were among the prizes in the Brass Monkey Half Marathon in York.

Wendy Chapman was the first Over-45 in (1.27.54), Richie Gerry was second Over-50 (1.22.08), and Lyne Valentine was second Over-60 (1.42.40).

They had four runners under 1.25 in John Cook (1.16.19), Mark Anderson (1.18.30), Chris Dwyer (1.21.14) and Andy Duke (1.22.41).

Sunderland Harrier Alice Smith finished 17th woman in 1.27.32.

Birtley’s Tracy Millmore won the race (1.19.02) from Jarrow and Hebburn’s Alex Sneddon (1.20.01).

Former Houghton Harrier Philippa Ellis, now with Gateshead Harriers, won the Under-17 bronze medal in the Northern Athletics 60m hurdles in a personal best of 8.94 at Sheffield.

The Durham Schools Cross Country Championships are staged at Barnard Castle on Saturday. Athletes will be trying to gain selection for the National Championships at Temple Newsam Park, Leeds, on Saturday, March 17.

Age groups are: Juniors (Under-15), Intermediates (Under-17), Seniors (Under-19).

The rescheduled Dalton Park 10km, postponed previously because of frost, takes place on Sunday at 10am.