Part of our young athlete series, Anna Rowe tells AW about her success in both the 800m and combined events
The 800m and multi-events is an unusual combination, but Anna Rowe excels in both. The 15-year-old has not only won the England Athletics under-15 indoor pentathlon and outdoor hexathlon but also placed second in the 800m at the English Schools Championships.
Most recently the Liverpool Harrier won the junior girls pentathlon at the English Schools Combined Events Championships with a personal best 3447 points. Speaking ahead of the competition Anna had said how she hoped to improve on her bronze medal from last year and again gain selection for the SIAB Schools International in Glasgow in December.
Given she started out in cross country, Anna’s success in 800m is not surprising. She explained: “I used to go to cross-country club in the mornings before school with my twin sister, Emily, and older brother, Allan.
“I really enjoyed it and went to Liverpool Harriers when I was nine. I ran cross country for school and in the Mid Lancs League and started to run in the road relays when I was old enough.”
In the spring, Anna had her first experience in track athletics, doing 800m and long jump in a meeting in Liverpool, and she loved it and the team spirit that goes with it. Her dad runs and coaches middle distance and cross country and Anna and Emily have been part of his squad since they were nine. However, after doing so well in multi-events last year, Anna made the decision to focus on 800m and the shorter events and gave up cross country.
“I talked it through with my mum, dad and coaches and although it was hard to leave the middle-distance group, I think it’s the right choice for me,” she said. “I know that I will have to make a decision soon about which events I would like to continue with, but I love the 800m and combined events is so exciting.”
She nevertheless chose to race against the specialist 800m runners in the English Schools despite having qualified in several events and the decision paid off. She clocked 2:11:64 and just missed out on the gold to Ellie Brazil.
Her rise in multi-events is quite remarkable given she only started hurdling in January 2012. Her hurdles coach, Stan Roberts, also coaches her for sprints, middle- distance and high jump.
She also does long jump with Margi Jones and trains with Mike Holmes, coach to Katarina Johnson-Thompson, for shot and javelin.
“I mainly work on track with Erin McBride, who just won bronze for team GB at 400m T13 at the IPC World Championships in Lyon, France,” she said. “Katarina has also been an inspiration and is often at the club for regular sessions. Whenever Katarina, Erin or Jonny (Mellor) or Anyika (Onuora) are on TV, I am literally jumping up and down as I love all kinds of sport.”
Summing up her event choice, Anna said: “It is a little unusual as most multi-eventers come from a sprint background, but I started out in cross country and the longer track distances and I’m experienced at running 800m, but I had regularly run and enjoyed the 200m too. I am lucky to train with really great coaches.”
You can find further performance stats on Anna on Power of 10 here.
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