Lucy is a young athlete with a bright future
10:09am Wednesday 18th September 2013 in Sport
Bill Carne goes track-side at Pembrokeshire Harriers to meet 13 year old Welsh international cross country runner Lucy Davies...
PEMBROKESHIRE Harriers have produced any number of talented young female athletes over the years and the conveyor belt continues to move smoothly as runners of the calibre of Lucy Davies step off it and on to the track.
At 13 years of age she is already the Welsh Cross Country champion for her age group, has won races galore in this discipline and was awarded her Welsh vest for taking part in the Schools’ Home Countries international against England, Scotland and Ireland at Dinefwr Park – plus being given the honour of a place in the London Mini-Marathon which is run over the last three miles of the London Marathon and in front of the large crowds gathered there to watch the spectacle!
Her Welsh vest and medal on this occasion was sponsored by Richard Branson, of Virgin fame, and again she took on the best of the other Welsh runners, the English regions, Scotland and Ireland.
Not content with that little lot, Lucy also competes for the Harriers on the track at the 800 metres (and is Dyfed Schools’ year eight champion) but also competes for the Vale of Taf Pony Club and Area 18 in Tetrathlon (that’s shooting, swimming, running and riding her pony Myra, and last year took part in a competition featuring 48 others from all over England and Wales where she came in third place. Phew!
Lucy hails from Ludchurch and after junior school at Tavernspite she is now a pupil at Ysgol Dyffryn Taf, with both schools always encouraging her sporting participation. She first took part in cross country running at Year Three in Ludchurch, where she won the county championships at Oakwood, followed by further success, and sometimes by even wider margins, in Years 4 and 5, but came second in Year Six after running for the Harriers two days before and winning a hard-fought race over 1,400 metres and Llandow two days earlier.
She had joined the Harriers with her friend, Tegan Harrison, and they were made very welcome by Pete Freeman, the long distance coach. She was only eight then and so had to wait a year to take part – and after what seemed an eternity finally competed in a league cross-country race at Bath. There were 80 competitors, and most were a lot older than Lucy. It was freezing cold and pouring with rain, but she came a very creditable sixth place – and loved every minute of it!
Since then her successes have included:
• Welsh Cross Country U13 Girls Champion – (3,000m at Glanusk, Brecon)
• West Wales Cross Country U13 Girls Champion – (2,500m in Bridgend)
• Carmarthenshire Secondary Schools Year 8 Girls Cross Country Champion (League of 4 separate races at Carms Secondary Schools)
• Dyfed Schools Champion Year 8 Girls 800m (Carmarthen Track)
As well as her Welsh vests Lucy also received her West Wales Vest for the Welsh Inter Regional Cross Country Champs - 2500m (Builth Wells) and the UK Inter County Cross Country Champs – 3,000m (Birmingham and her Dyfed vest for the Inter County Schools Cross Country Champs – 3,000m (Cardiff) and the Welsh Schools Cross Country Champs – 3,600m (Brecon).
Undoubtedly one of her best performances came in the SIAB Home International Championships mentioned earlier, where she was the youngest of 150 entrants and came seventh of the Welsh runners to earn that place in London.
“It was brilliant,” said Lucy, because the Welsh team stayed at the Royal Holloway College and had to be up at 6.30am ready for the 8.30am start because it was so busy in London and hard to get to the start early because of all the crowds.
“We ran down The Mall and finished at exactly the same place as the top runners and it was great that mum (Louisa), my Nan (Sue Sutton) and uncle (Simon Last-Sutton) were all there to cheer me on.
“My Dad (Phil) and brother (James) couldn’t be there because of all the cattle and other animals on our farm, but I know they were thinking of me!”
In the summer months, Lucy takes to the track and competes in 800m mainly, with 1500m and 300m also being run on occasions. She has hurdled successfully in previous years under the guidance of Nigel Rowland and hopes to tackle the steeplechase on the track when she is old enough in two years time.
Mum, who Lucy describes as an ace chauffeur, says that Lucy is eager to develop her hurdling skills and one way she practises is at home on the farm, where she uses a bamboo stick and some barrels.
“She has no fear,” admits Louisa, “and sets them the higher the better as she uses her dog ‘Bluey’ as her practice partner!”
It’s the same in show jumping as she and ‘Myra’ competed in the mini-major event at the County Show last year and came third. She was delighted to receive her rosette from legendary horseman David Broome and on the athletics front would love to also meet top British athlete Jessica Ennis, and Australian Olympic champion Sally Pearson.
Nigel Rowlands described Lucy as a ‘bundle of energy and some who is a pleasure to have in the squad’, a description readily agreed upon by Pete Freeman.
We only chatted to Lucy Davies for a short while and could see exactly what these two local legends of athletics meant – and she is certainly one to watch for the future, in cross country and on the track!
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