Hastings ace triumphs in southern event

Elise Lovell, centre, leads the way in the 100m hurdles
Elise Lovell, centre, leads the way in the 100m hurdles

Athletics all-rounder Elise Lovell produced a tremendous personal best display to triumph at the Southern All Ages Combined Events Championships.

The Hastings Athletic Club talent won the senior women's heptathlon title with a score of 5,284 points, despite very windy conditions at Horspath Track in Oxford.

Lovell's total eclipsed her previous best of 5,255 points, which she set on her Great Britain & Northern Ireland debut at the European Cup Combined Events Super League event in France last July. That was achieved in ideal warm conditions and on a fast track.

She said: "The wind just affected every sprint race so it was really amazing to perform well enough to get a personal best, which was a bit of a shock. It was good to put a score down and a good score as well."

Lovell finished 208 points clear of Laura Hanagan (City of Sheffield AC), a 'guest' competitor from outside the region, and 290 ahead of Katie Garland (Brighton & Hove AC).

She clocked the quickest time of anyone in the 100m hurdles and the 200m, crossing the line in 14.02 (976 points) and 25.05 (882 points) respectively. The 200m was made particularly tough by the very strong head wind on the bend.

Lovell also had the best long jump of anybody with a leap of 5.89m (816 points) - just seven centimetres shy of her personal best and particularly impressive considering the crosswind and the fact she already had a day's competition in her legs.

Lovell had the second best high jump with a personal best 1.64m (783 points), and was the third best performer in the javelin with 31.80m (511 points) and the concluding 800m with 2:22.04 (796 points) - a race she ran from the front with the other athletes using her as a windbreak. She also threw 9.68m (520 points) in the shot.

Although she's competed quite a lot, including for Hastings AC in the Southern Athletics League, this was the 24-year-old's first full heptathlon of 2016 having recovered from a foot problem earlier in the summer.

Lovell, who scored 5,197 points in winning the England Athletics Combined Events Championships title last May, has another big competition coming up this weekend.

The 24-year-old will compete in the long jump and 100m hurdles at the England Athletics AAA & UK CAU Senior Championships in Bedford, and the field looks very strong.

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