McCarthy potential has rivals running scared

Lauren McCarthy showed top form in Eastleigh and Romsey

Lauren McCarthy showed top form in Eastleigh and Romsey

Kelly Sotherton. Picture: Gareth Copley/PA Wire

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Lauren McCarthy underlined her emerging potential with a frenetic weekend of action.

The City of Portsmouth starlet picked up a win over 5k in the Eastleigh Park Run.

And the 16-year-old followed that up 24 hours later with a fine display at the Romsey 5 Mile event.

Despite her tender years, McCarthy was the fifth female across the line in a field of nearly 500 runners.

The teenager clocked a time of 22min 25sec at the Eastleigh event before recording a 32.09 effort the next day.

That display put her towards the head of the national rankings over the distance in her age category.

It’s a promising return to form for the Stubbington talent after recently being laid low by a virus.

That ruled her out of the Saucony Hampshire Cross-Country Championships after some excellent Wessex Cross-Country League displays.

Coach Gerry North has been hugely encouraged by McCarthy’s efforts and believes her most recent displays underline what she is capable of achieving.

He said: ‘Lauren ran twice over the weekend and ran really well.

‘They were two strong performances and she’s showing good form.

‘I’ve been coaching her for about six months and she is progressing.

‘The race in Eastleigh was on grass and was quite heavy but she was the first lady finisher.

‘Then, at the Romsey race, she put in another good effort.

‘She started and finished strongly and finished 38th overall.

‘Lauren’s moving forward and we have to happy with how things are going. She has a good chance of doing well at the Hampshire Schools’ event coming up.

‘Lauren certainly has the raw materials to do well.

‘She’s keen and dedicated – and that’s what you need.’

There were further impressive performances from City athletes, with the indoor London Games being held last weekend.

Mandy Gault was a winner in her first-ever indoor 400m.

Gault clocked a time of 58.08 to win race three over the distance at Lee Valley.

That was just a second outside of the qualifying time for the British trials for the European Indoor Championships.

Tracy Bezance set a personal best of 62.61 to finish third in her race in front of team-mate Claire Netley, who was fourth (63.40).

North said: ‘Mandy ran a good time, though she actually thought she could have ran quicker.

‘Tracy was fourth but was quite chuffed to set a new personal best and beat younger people. That’s not too bad for a 48-year-old.’

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