Mandy Gault proved she’ll take some catching in 2015 with a golden display on her first outing of the new year.
The City of Portsmouth ace stormed to 400m victory at the South of England AA Senior Indoor Championships – and set a new personal best in the process with her final-winning time of 55.90secs.
That indoor record was nearly two seconds quicker than her closest rival, Bracknell AC’s Rachel McClay, as the 31-year-old set down an impressive marker for the season.
However, the University of Chichester lecturer believes she has plenty more in the tank as she looks ahead to another prosperous campaign.
Last year proved bitter sweet for the Northern Ireland international, with multiple titles and impressive displays at home and abroad negated by her home country’s decision not to take her to the Commonwealth Games in the 400m hurdles.
But refreshed and raring to go for the season ahead, Gault admitted she’s feeling strong and determined to prove herself yet again.
‘Winning on Saturday and setting a new indoor PB was an early-season boost,’ admitted Gault.
‘It’s always nice to pick up a medal, but this was a bonus as it shows all those winter training sessions in the cold, wet miserable November, December nights are already paying off.
‘The plan this season is to run without any pressure and see where it takes me.
‘I’m going to concentrate on the 400m flat rather than the hurdles as it takes a lot out of me and my feet!
‘Saturday was my first 400m indoors for two years and it proved to me that I can make the switch and be competitive.
‘It also made me realise that I can go even faster as I had plenty left in my legs after crossing the finishing line.
‘I know I can run faster and perhaps at next month’s British Indoors in Sheffield I can get another new PB.’
Gault was joined on the podium in Lee Valley by City team-mate Harrison Pocock.
The 18-year-old finished second in the under-20 men’s 400m in a time of 50.74 – behind City of Salisbury’s Jacob Ness (50.26).