Blake bounces back to beat Dame

Karrie Blake. Picture: Jeremy Hemming, hemming@dircon.co.uk
Karrie Blake. Picture: Jeremy Hemming, hemming@dircon.co.uk

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Karrie Blake has scored a thrilling triumph over sporting royalty.

The City of Portsmouth runner’s impressive performance in the Sydney Wooderson 800m Challenge in Eltham last month saw her jump above double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes in the all-time rankings for athletes aged 35 and older.

And coach Gerry North has paid tribute to Blake, after she bounced back from injury woe to finish her campaign with a season’s best.

‘She had a good race in London,’ said North.

‘The Sydney Wooderson Challenge is quite a big event – you have to be invited to take part in it.

‘She finished fourth with a season’s best time of two mins 5.9secs.

‘First place was a rival of hers – Karen Harewood – who is an ex-Great Britain international.

‘Second was one of the Britain’s top young athletes – Jessica Judd – with Tara Bird, who is a Great Britain under-23 squad member, in third.

‘Karrie was right up there with them until the last 150 metres, when she just lost them.

‘She was probably going to crack her personal best but the top three just pulled away at the end.

‘But she’s missed most of the season with an Achilles problem, so all things considered she did really well.

‘And with that time she’s now fourth in the all-time 800m rankings for over-35s – above Kelly Holmes in fifth!’

Holmes, who is most renowned for her 800m and 1,500m gold medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics, enjoyed an illustrious career and now works as the president of Commonwealth Games England.

But the 2004 BBC Sports Personality of the Year has been overtaken by Portsmouth ace Blake in the standings.

And she isn’t stopping there.

North revealed Harewood, who is ranked number one, is next in the 35-year-old’s sights.

‘Nobody comes near those two (Blake and Harewood) over 800m at the moment in the over-35s,’ he said.

‘Harewood won a big race in Birmingham last week that took her to the top and Karrie wished she had raced it now.

‘If Karrie was right at her best, she could beat her.’

Blake also recorded a new season’s best in the 1,500m at Watford.

She recorded a time of 4.27.09 which puts her eighth in the British all-time list in the same age category

She is now only behind Helen Clitheroe, who competed in the World Championships in Daegu over 5,000m, and Harewood in the rankings for 2011.

And with the season winding down, North thinks a good winter will be crucial to her future success.

‘As long as she gets a good winter, Karrie will be challenging next year,’ he said.

‘If she doesn’t do her Achilles like last time, than hopefully she will have a great year.’