Mansfield Harriers' Duffy misses national glory by whisker
Talented middle-distance runner Luke Duffy, of Mansfield Harriers, was agonisingly close to national glory in the last of the major track and field events of the season.
Duffy was pipped on the line in the final of the U17s’ 1500m at the national championships for both his age group and also U15s, held at the International Stadium in Bedford over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
In one of the strongest races over the distance for U17s for many years, he followed the pace throughout and surged for victory with 150m to go, putting in a rapid time of 41 seconds for the last 300m. But he was caught with a couple of strides left to run, missing out on the title by 0.1 of a second, and had to be content with the silver medal, rather than gold.
Duffy will now complete what has been a superb season for him by tackling the UK School Games at Loughborough this weekend.
Two of his Harriers teammates also competed at Bedford, with Ben Smith running in the U15s’ 1500m and Kelsey Pearce going for the U15s’ shot put.
Smith, who is getting stronger with every race, marked his return from holiday with tenth place in the final, while Pearce made the top ten with an impressive 10.94m, despite some technical flaws after missing a key part of her preparation.
Elsewhere, the last of the popular Charnwood Open meetings also took place over the weekend, with star billing going to Mansfield master Jonny Lowe, who has made a successful return to the track after 30 years away. He won his heats of the 400m, clocking 60.29 seconds, and the 1500m, clocking four minutes, 47.88 seconds. Also racing in the 400m was Chris Monk, who continued his own renaissance by recording a very fast 50.67.
In the 1500m, recent recruits, twins Amber and Mollie Scott, posted times of 4.48.04 and 4.53.52 respectively, while over 800m, U13 Alex Foster (2.41.06) just prevailed over ladies’ team manager Bev Armstrong (2.42.21), and Tammy Smith posted an impressive 2.54 in her first try at the distance. Smith also clocked 15.18 in the 100m.
May Roberts maintained her comeback to racing on the track by tackling the 800m, while the evergreen Andy Wetherill raced in the rarely-contested one-mile event and registered a superb time of five minutes, 4.87 seconds to complete a highly profitable event for the club.