Cooke is Yorks and Humber’s top athlete in 60m hurdles

Heather Cooke
Heather Cooke

A Gainsborough athlete has shot to the top of the regional rankings, in an event she doesn’t even count as her strongest.

Heather Cooke’s success in the London Games at the Lee Valley Stadium in the 60m hurdles put her 25th in England, according to the Power of 10 rankings – and first in the Yorkshire and Humber region for her age group.

The Queen Elizabeth High School student won her first race at Lee Valley, in a time of 9.48 seconds.

This was a personal best time, knocking off an impressive 0.16 from her previous best performance.

Although she couldn’t quite match that in her next race, Cooke still ran a really good time of 9.55 seconds; finishing sixth.

Dad Gary hopes it’s the start of a successful year for Heather, who trains at Scunthorpe Athletics Club.

“Hopefully this bodes well for the forthcoming season,” he said.

“And we’re hoping it will help her in the 300m hurdles races she competes in.”

Cooke also entered the 300m race in London and finished third in her heat with a respectable time of 43.81 seconds – placing her ninth overall for the competition.

Last weekend she ran in the 300m and 60m hurdles at the Birmingham Games Open at the National Indoor Arena.

In the 300m, an event she uses to help prepare her for the hurdles, she ran another personal best time.

Gary said: “She was third in a fast heat and really, really pleased with that.”

The performance put her 18th in the UK rankings at that distance.

In the 60m hurdles she was seventh in her event with a time that was better than last season’s.

A new technique she’s been using in training didn’t quite pay off on race day, however.

Her dad told the Standard: “She’s been training to attack the first hurdle in seven strides and not eight, but it didn’t go as well on the day as it has in training.”

“But she came away well plesed with her performances.”

The National Indoor Championships in Sheffield are next for Cooke, before the Combined Events, also in the Steel City, where she’ll both run and jump.