The former junior prodigy is back on song and AW heard more about her change in coaching set-up and future aims
Having enjoyed a big improvement last year to run 2:03.38 and 4:18.75 over 800m and 1500m, 21-year-old Georgia Bell credits a move to be coached by Trevor Painter for her resurgence in form.
The Shaftesbury Barnet athlete achieved a lot as a youngster, winning the English Schools as an under-15 and clocking 2:08.81, which put her eighth on the UK all-time list, and claiming silver in the same championships as an under-17 in 2009.
“I surprised everyone including myself when I ran 2:08,” she said. “But then a build-up of several small things set me back. I changed coaches to join a bigger club, but then my new coach unfortunately retired six months before I went to university. After this I lost my direction in athletics and my enjoyment of the sport.”
However, after starting studying geography at the University of Birmingham, her friend and training partner Leah Barrow (a 2:05.45 800m runner) introduced her to Painter, so Georgia travels to Wigan once a month to train as part of a strong training group, including Painter’s wife Jenny Meadows, Hayley Mills and Kirsten McAslan.
“I feel very lucky to now have found a place in Trevor’s group, which has put me back on track and made me fall back in love with athletics,” she says. “There are so many talented athletes in the group challenging you and pushing you on. I always leave feeling stronger.”
The rest of the time, Georgia links up with Bud Baldaro’s group in Birmingham for grass sessions or adapts her training sessions so she can train with other athletes at the university.
“I feel very lucky to now have found a place in Trevor’s group, which has put me back on track and made me fall back in love with athletics”
Georgia’s renewed enthusiasm for athletics led to a silver in the England Athletics Under-23 Championships and a bronze in the BUCS Championships, along with an improvement in her times. “The formula was simple: just consistent training, speedy sessions and a training partner, Leah, to motivate me and make training enjoyable and sociable again,” she says.
“Last season was really exciting for me because I only began training properly in January and almost every time I raced I got a PB. Seeing how much I was improving in such a short amount of time gave me the conﬁ dence for big races.”
Having started the indoor season running well, Georgia is targeting BUCS and the England Athletics Under-23 Championships. “It’s my last year at university so I hope I can improve on my bronze at BUCS from last year and hopefully be just as competitive at the nationals,” she explains.
She also has half an eye on gaining selection for the European Under-23 Championships in Tallinn. “I’m not far off the qualifying time, but there are so many talented British girls capable of qualifying.
“It will definitely be a challenge, but I’d like to think it’s in my sights,” she explains modestly.
Georgia is looking into going to the United States on an athletics scholarship post-university. It is an environment she thinks she would enjoy. “I’ve always liked running because it’s so sociable,” she says.
“Training well in a group is one of the best feelings and it’s one of the times I’m at my happiest.” She adds: “I definitely want to dedicate the next chapter of my life to athletics.”
You can find further performance stats on Georgia on Power of 10 here.
» Support young athletes via the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, see rpmf.org.uk