Steeplechaser Bamford earns Commonwealth Games place

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Racheal Bamford has made vast improvements this spring in the 3,000 metres steeplechase Racheal Bamford has made vast improvements this spring in the 3,000 metres steeplechase

RACHEAL Bamford will compete in her first major championships in Glasgow next month.

The 24-year-old Otley Athletics Club member has been selected by England for the 3000 metres steeplechase at the COMMONWEALTH GAMES from July 23 to August 3.

Bamford gained the qualifying time at Manchester's Sportcity on May 31, running 9min 54.57sec.

This ranks her alongside Pippa Woolven (Wycombe) in England but behind two Scottish athletes – Eilish McColgan, whose life-time best is 9:35.82, and Lennie Waite.

Bamford only took to the steeplechase in 2012, winning the Yorkshire Championships that year over 2000m, before turning seriously to the 3000m version this year under the tutelage of Leeds City coach Mike Baxter.

In one month this spring she managed to improve from 10:29.31 in a UK Women's League Division Three match at Bedford to her breakthrough in Manchester.

She will need another 30-second improvement, though, to stay with the Kenyan world leaders in Glasgow.

The lower steeplechase barriers for women put a premium on flat speed. Nevertheless, Bamford has been improving her hurdling technique with a 64.8sec 400m at Stevenage ten days ago.

Meanwhile, in the HOME MOUNTAIN-RUNNING CHAMPIONSHIPS at Whinlatter Forest bear Keswick on Saturday, local runners were to the fore.

Bingley's Emma Clayton won the senior ladies' race, ahead of Sarah Tunstall (Kendal) and Katie Walshaw (Holmfirth), in an England 1-2-3.

The Ilkley trio of Georgia Malir, victor in the female under-23 race, Tom Adams, fourth in the senior men's, and Lucy Williamson, tenth in the female under-23, were also prominent.

Zara Knappy of Keighley & Craven was a fine third in the under-23 race.

Last week's OTLEY TEN-MILER drew 392 runners.

The home club had four in the top eight, with Scott Harrington (third), Matt John (fourth), Mark Hall (sixth), and Liam Dunne (eighth) all breaking one hour.

Nathaniel Williams won in 55min 34sec, with Ripon's Sharon Barlow first lady in 63:45.

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