AW speaks with the latest addition to Britain’s pool of female sprint talents
Having improved her PB to 23.09 and gone to sixth on the UK all-time under-20 list when winning the 200m at the UK Women’s League division one match last month, Charlotte McLennaghan has thrust herself into the limelight at a time when British women’s sprinting is arguably at an all-time high.
A three-time English Schools champion and twice SIAB Schools International winner, Charlotte has always had the talent, but even the 17-year-old herself was surprised to knock almost seven tenths from her half-lap time, as well as clock a PB of 11.66 for 100 metres.
“It was very unexpected,” says the Notts AC teenager modestly. “I knew I was capable of beating my PB, as I felt good in training, but getting such a huge PB never crossed my mind, especially this time of the season. After running a PB in the 100m I was excited to see what I could run in the 200m, but when I saw the time I couldn’t talk for ages.”
What does the youngster credit for her big improvement? “I have been working extra hard this past winter,” she says. “My start has always been a weakness and I’ve really tried to improve it and it finally paid oﬀ at Derby.
“I’m excited to see how the rest of my season goes and see if I can improve further.”
Charlotte was rewarded for her efforts with her first GB vest as she was selected to represent the Great Britain junior team at the Loughborough International. Showing her breakthrough performance was no flash in the pan, the youngster clocked her second fastest time of 23.46 for third.
“It was such a great experience to represent GB and it has really inspired me to keep working hard to have more success,” says Charlotte, who recently achieved her aim of being selected for the European Junior Championships this summer.
Charlotte trains three or four times a week at the Harvey Hadden Stadium in Nottingham and is full of admiration for her coach, Dave Hourd. “Dave has been my coach since I was an under-13 and has helped me improve so much over the years,” she says. “I first went to Notts AC as an under-11 after school sports day. I enjoyed football too, but sprinting quickly became my favourite.”
Despite her improvement this year, Charlotte’s proudest moment remains the first time she represented her country when running for England at the SIAB Schools International in 2013. She explains: “Not only was it my first England vest, but I also broke the 200m record and finally went sub-24. It was such an exciting experience and nothing like anything I had experienced before. Travelling by plane to Dublin with the team and getting the England kit really inspired me.”
However, as one of the latest bright young prospects to emerge from the conveyor belt production line of talented British women’s sprinters, Charlotte is unsurprisingly inspired by the high standard of British women’s sprints at the moment.
“It’s a really great time to be a female sprinter, especially seeing athletes like Dina Asher-Smith do so well, having just left the junior ranks. It is so inspiring to see so many GB female sprinters being successful,” says Charlotte.
You can find further performance stats on Charlotte on Power of 10 here.
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