No fairytale Havant return for Keen

jppp-26-09-12 spt-butserrun''Pictures of the Butser Challenge Races on Butser Hill - taken on Sunday, September 23, 2012''First woman home in senior race - Polly Keen
jppp-26-09-12 spt-butserrun''Pictures of the Butser Challenge Races on Butser Hill - taken on Sunday, September 23, 2012''First woman home in senior race - Polly Keen
The start of the Gosport Half Marathon race as James Baker, wearing 85, hits the front early on. Picture: Neil Marshall

Baker’s perfect timing with Gosport triumph

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A rare run out for Havant AC ended on a negative note for steeplechaser Polly Keen at the British Championships.

The 24-year-old was back in the vest of her home club after competing for Cambridge University, where she is undertaking a PhD in chemical engineering.

But the occasion was not marked in the way Keen would have liked – after she was disqualified for an illegal jump over a hurdle after completing the 3,000m race in an unofficial time of 10min 52sec.

That put a dampener on a day that saw the student run close to her personal best of 10.47.93 when finishing well behind eventual winner Elish McColgan (9.56.02).

But she was soon focusing on her next outing – and perhaps a major step up in distance.

‘It wasn’t my greatest race,’ said Keen. ‘I’ve had a bit of time off recently, doing a bit of travelling and going to my PhD conference but I know I am in better shape than that.

‘I wanted to run quicker but it’s okay – ultimately, I want to be heading towards the marathon and things.

‘I enjoy the steeplechase but I just don’t think I enjoy doing the sessions enough.

‘I like to just go out for a run, so maybe the London Marathon next year.

‘I just think I’m better at the distance stuff as that is what training I’ve been doing.

‘But maybe I’ll get my act together and do some steeplechase sessions at some point.’

Keen admitted she was proud to wear the Havant vest again on the biggest day in British athletics.

University commitments have prevented her from representing the club more but she hoped that would change between now and the end of the season.

‘I haven’t raced for Havant as I’ve been so busy,’ she said.

‘For the Southern Athletics League matches – the first one I was away in America because there was an Oxford and Cambridge team that went over to the States to compete against Harvard and Yale.

‘And then for the second, it was the varsity match against Oxford.

‘I’m most likely to run the British Milers on Saturday because it’s perhaps my only chance to do a 5k on the track.

‘But hopefully I can do the last one – it’s just a pity they have all clashed.’