Part of our young athlete series, we hear from a Wirral 800m talent who is closing in on the two-minute barrier
Cambridge University student Hanna Tarver enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2013 with medals in the BUCS Championships and England Athletics Under-23s over 800m, but the 20-year-old says her highlight was making the final at the Sainsbury’s British Championships.
“Last season was a bit like stepping into the unknown, but it was definitely a new and enjoyable experience. I learned a lot from competing against some amazing senior athletes,” says the Wirral athlete when reflecting on a year which also saw her win the North of England title and improve her two-lap PB to 2:05.46.
Hanna started out as a swimmer and did cross country when she began at Wirral Grammar School. After the Merseyside Cross Country Championships in 2008, she was thrilled to be offered coaching by stalwart Dave Jeffs, who had previously coached Andy Baddeley.
“Long term I will probably move up to 1500m, but I definitely think I can go faster over 800m first”
Jeffs died last year and Hanna is quick to credit the role he played in her development. “I have a lot to thank Dave for,” she says. “He was so dedicated and always put his athletes first despite his ill health. I really enjoyed training with him.”
When she began studying chemical engineering at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, Hanna linked up with 2012 world junior 800m finalist Emily Dudgeon for some sessions. Soon, Hanna began working with Dudgeon’s coach, the Edinburgh-based Stuart Hogg, who introduced her to weight training.
Hanna, who added victory at the North of England Indoors earlier this month to her CV, starting the year with a 2:06.34 clocking, adds: “Long term I will probably move up to 1500m, but I definitely think I can go faster over 800m first.”
At Cambridge Hanna has little time to do anything other than train and work. But she was lucky enough to go on a tour of Ivy League Universities with the Achilles Club recently and she found this really inspiring.
Hanna is also inspired by Baddeley, the sub-3:50 miler who graduated from Cambridge with a double first in engineering. She says: “Andy came round to my house to give me advice about Cambridge interviews and was there for five hours! It is not often you get an Olympic athlete in your living room!”
You can find further performance stats on Hanna on Power of 10 here.
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