Hastings athletics: England call for Ross Skelton - and David Weir in line for top honour
HY Runners ace Ross Skelton has been selected to represent England at full international level in the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k on Sunday October, 24. The England call is the pinnacle of Skelton’s career so far.
He has worked hard to achieve it and is in the form of his life.
Skelton has been on the England selectors’ radar for the past few years but like so many athletes, he has found Covid and all its lockdowns and restrictions have hampered his progress, with a lot of races being cancelled.
Despite this Skelton has kept his head down and got on with his training and regularly puts in 100-plus miles in a week, pounding the roads of East Sussex.
Skelton missed out earlier this year on a chance of Olympic selection as he had not had the opportunity of converting his training form to qualifying times – as there were no races for him to improve on his times.
His current marathon PB of 2:19:20 is narrowly outside of the qualifying standard.
Skelton has made huge strides since and is predicted to get close to 2:15 at the London Marathon on Sunday.
After recently missing being being selected to represent England at the Antrim half marathon last month, he went there and produced a sensational display to finish in 63:39 – beating most of the England team on the day.
Tom Craggs, an England selector, was there and reportedly promised Skelton his time would come.
Now the selectors have contacted Skelton via his coach Geoff Watkins with the news that he has made the team.
Skelton said Craggs also rang him an hour later to confirm and told him how delighted he was to have him as part of the England set-up,
Selectors have described his running technique as being ‘as smooth as a Rolls Royce’.
Skelton said: “To be selected to represent your country is something that any sportsperson dreams of from a very young age and I am no different. I am delighted and honoured to be selected and am excited about what the future holds.”
BBC TV viewers can look out for Skelton in the big race in London on Sunday.
Skelton’s dad and HY Runners head coach Terry Skelton said: “ We are very proud family members and have been waiting to announce the news that our lad has been selected to reprepesent his country.
“I have seen first hand the work Ross has put in and it is nothing more than he deserves. His team-mates at HY Running club and his training group in London are so pleased for him. We are all delighted.”
This is just the beginning for Skelton, who at the age of 28 has several years ahead of him as a long distance runner. He is tipped to be part of the GB squad for Paris 2024.
HY Runners also have David Weir, Rachael Mulvey, Fiona Norman Brown, Jonathan Hatch and Phil Scott running on Sunday and all at the club wish them well.
Meanwhile wheelchair athlete and Paralympic legend Weir has recently been named in a final poll of three athletes, the others being Sir Mo Farah and Dame Jessica Ennis Hill, in a vote to decide British athlete of the decade 2010-2019.
Weir, who has recently returned from competing for team GB in Tokyo, proudly boasts four London Marathon wins and multiple Paralympic golds.
He has been a member of HY Runners since it was formed and is the club’s ambassador for the the ‘kids run free’ campaign.
Everyone at HYy Runners is delighted for Weir and head coach Skelton sent a personal congratulation message to him.
An award ceremony for the athlete of the decade to be crowned will be held at a venue yet to be named.
by BENJI SYMES