Gainsborough teenager Shannon Conway makes her maiden appearance at a national level this weekend, when she competes in the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Crofton Park in Birmingham.
The prestigious event, which doubles as trials for the World Cross Country Championships, will be televised live on Sky around 2.15pm on Saturday.
The Gainsborough and Morton Strider secured her place in the race with her performance at the Lincolnshire Cross Country Championships at Riseholme College, Lincoln, in January.
Conway is the first junior female Strider, in any age-group below 18, to represent the county at the Inter Counties since 1988, and having made the Under 15 girls team in her first year in this age group, hopes to make many more appearances for Lincolnshire.
Having tasted disappointment last year when she was reserve but didn’t get to race, she’s understandably delighted at getting a chance to show off her ability on television.
“I am really looking forward to wearing the Lincolnshire vest at the Inter Counties. It is really exciting and I wwant to do everyone proud, especially my parents, the Striders and Lincolnshire.”
“I want to really enjoy the day and do my best.”
Her coach at the Striders, Phil Kitchen, has represented the county 13 times at national level, and has been passing on all the advice he can to Conway during high intensity interval training and hill sessions, developing speed, strength and endurance.
Kitchen told the Standard: “It is a pleasure to help any athlete prepare for a National Championship and I hope my experiences will be of a benefit to Shannon in the race.”
“It can be rather daunting when you see the TV cameras and all the top class National and International class athletes in theses events for the first time.”
“I have tried to advise Shannon on how to cope with her nerves and look forward to the Championships with nothing but positive thinking.”
Proud parents Tom and Denise appreciate the help provided by the Gainsborough club in the last year.
Tom said: “We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to Shannon’s continued success which has culminated in her first appearance in a National Championship.”
“I’d also like to thank Phil Kitchen who has represented Lincolnshire at National Level for his invaluable help, advice and assistance in fine-tuning Shannon’s training for her big day on Saturday.”
In her final preparation event before the Championships Conway had a good workout at the Scunthorpe 5K parkrun last weekend, recording a fine time of 24:07.