Few athletes have worked harder than Molly Butterworth to realise the dream of making the prestigious English Schools’ Athletics Track and Field Championships.
The 16-year-old Doncaster Athletic Club middle-distance runner will represent South Yorkshire in the inter-girls 1500 metres at Gateshead’s International Stadium this weekend.
Molly joined the club in 2012, after deciding to quit competitive swimming, and has not looked back since.
Coached by Dave Blackburn since joining the club, Molly just missed out on a place in the South Yorkshire team on a couple of occasions in recent years when finishing second when representing Doncaster Schools in the SY finals.
But she took full advantage of running on her local track, and ideal conditions, to knock five seconds off her previous personal best time to win the race in a time of 4 minutes 46.1 seconds - well inside the qualifying time.
“It’s unbelievable to finally make it,” said Molly, who will have two more attempts to win a medal as a result of her switch to Hall Cross’s sixth form in September, ahead of Friday’s heats.
Molly, who will miss out on the club’s second annual sprint/endurance meeting tonight - where she ran in the mile last year - is making no pre-race predictions but hopes to make it through to Saturday’s final.
Joining her at Gateshead will be Doncaster Athletic Club team-mates Joe McGrath, George Phillips and Nicole Lannie.
McGrath will contest the senior boys’ 100 metres, Phillips will tackle the senior boys’ 2000m steeplechase and Lannie the junior girls’ 75m hurdles.