East Devon runner Innes continues to impress with biggest victory of her young career

By Francesca Evans

17th Jul 2022 | Local News

Innes Fitzgerald pictured with the pocket watch presented to her by Axe Valley Academy staff
Innes Fitzgerald pictured with the pocket watch presented to her by Axe Valley Academy staff

BY KEVIN FAHEY

East Devon teenager Innes Fitzgerald claimed the best win of her young career when she scorched to a magnificent victory at the English Schools' Track & Feld Championships.

The 16-year-old Axe Valley Academy student, from Beer, ran away from the field in the intermediate girls' 3000m at the Sportcity Stadium, Manchester, last weekend for victory in a time of 9 mins 21.34 secs.

That not only slashed six seconds off Innes' previous personal best but was a new championship record. It puts her third in the UK Rankings for under 17 women this year.

Remarkably, for a race at that this level, Innes finished 17 seconds clear of her nearest rival as she dominated the race throughout. It was the biggest win on the track in the two days of non-stop competition in an event widely regarded as the 'Kids Olympics.'

Victory also secured her a place in the England team for the SIAB British Schools Championships in Belfast this weekend.

It will be the teenager's second England vest having made her debut for her county at the equivalent cross country event in the winter.

Then she travelled to Wales, having finished runner-up in the English Schools' Championships and not only won the individual race but also led the England squad to team gold.

Her latest success continues the remarkable emergence of the Axe Valley Runners' athlete, who only took up the sport seriously during lockdown and started racing the Seaton parkrun.

Her natural talent – she is a keen sport all-rounder – quickly became apparent but even close followers of the sport have been taken aback by her rapid rise to the top. And clearly there is much more to come from this talented youngster.

Innes has previously been praised by her teachers at Axe Valley Academy for her success, and was presented with a pocket watch for her efforts in representing the school at competitions.

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