Part of our Young Athlete series, AW catches up with steeplechaser Katie Ingle who has her sights set on the World Juniors

After setting a PB to qualify for the final at the European Junior Championships last year, steeplechaser Katie Ingle has her sights set on the World Juniors later this year.

The 19-year-old enjoyed her first taste of international competition in Rieti last year, finishing 11th in the final having set a PB of 10:20.67 in the heat. She is keen to step up to world level this year and in Manchester at the end of May she smashed her previous best to go well below the UKA qualifying mark of 10:20.00 with 10:13.99.

“The European Juniors was an amazing experience and the next level on from a national race. I was so pleased to get a PB, as we timed my training to peak at the right time,” explains the Sutton Coldfield athlete.

Having started out doing the flat distance events, Katie tried the steeplechase and enjoyed instant success. She won the senior girls English Schools 1500m steeplechase titles in 2012 and 2013, setting a PB of 4:52.77 in her second year. “I felt really good running both years and it feels amazing when the hard training pays off. I love racing,” reflects Katie. She has since gone on to this year shave almost two seconds off that previous best mark with 4:50.89 in Milton Keynes.

“It feels amazing when the hard training pays off. I love racing”

Katie is aware that she is very lucky to live near a National park, where she does most of her training. Coached by Ian and Margaret Riley, Katie trains with a small mixed group six days a week, often incorporating one or two barrier sessions. It is the running over barriers that Katie loves most of all. She reveals, “I love steeplechase, it is exciting and technical, there is always a challenge but when everything goes to plan it is very rewarding.”

Having grown up in Sydney, Katie has the Australian sports system to thank for her entry into athletics. She explains: “I had loads of energy as a child and needed to start a sport. Luckily, I lived opposite to where a Little Athletics club held its Saturday morning competition. Coming from a gymnastics background, I had qualities of strength and flexibility and the challenge of the steeplechase really appealed to me. I used to do lots of different sports, as my family is heavily into sport, but athletics was where I excelled and felt most competitive.”

Now in her first year studying fashion design at BCU in Birmingham, Katie feels the two areas of her life complement one another, each providing a welcome break from the other. With much debate taking place currently as to the benefits of music at athletics events and also whether distance runners should be allowed to wear headphones, it is refreshing to hear Katie’s view on the subject, as an avid believer that music can aid performance. “Music is a big part of my inspiration for running. I always blast music before training or races and this really hypes me up to get out there and run hard,” she says.

You can find further performance stats on Katie on Power of 10 here.

» Support young athletics via the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, see rpmf.org.uk