McCrae closes on English Schools’ qualifying time

James McCrae
James McCrae
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Two local athletes smashed their personal bests at the British Milers’ Club Grand Prix at Manchester’s Sport-city.

Nene Valley Harriers James McCrae and Lloyd Kempson produced superb performances to continue their fine starts to the year.

Bourne teenager McCrae smashed his personal best by no less than two seconds when finishing seventh in the 800m F race.

The 17-year-old ran superbly to clock 1:55.65 to smash his year-old PB.

It was a superb run from the Bourne Grammar School pupil and the only frustration was just missing out on the English Schools’ qualifying time of 1.55.

Nevertheless, the qualifying mark for those ‘Kids’ Olympics’ seems much nearer now and McCrae still has time to chase the time and make the Lincolnshire team for next month’s championships in Birmingham.

He said: “I was very pleased to take so much off my PB. Having got so close, it was a bit disappointing not to get the qualifying time but I was really happy just to run a PB.

“The pacemaker was really good and went through halfway in 56 seconds, which was pretty much what we asked for, and I was really pleased with how I ran.”

McCrae will be back on the track on Saturday when Nene Valley host a British League fixture for the first time.

The Division Three match at Peterborough gets under way at 12.30pm and finishes at 5.30pm.

Nene Valley take on Bedford, Crawley, Exeter, Mansfield, Reading, Swansea and Trafford and will be looking to build on their third place in the opener at Bedford last month.

McCrae insists he will put the team ahead of himself, though.

He added: “It would be nice to get the qualifying mark on Saturday but the priority is scoring points for the club.

“I won’t go tearing off in front chasing the time and risk losing places and costing the club points.

“After Saturday I still have the Midland Championships but that won’t be ideal for getting the qualifying time as I will have heats and a final.”

Meanwhile Kempson followed on from last week’s superb victory in the Westminster Mile in London with another brilliant display.

The Holbeach athlete took more than four seconds off his PB when finishing fourth in the 1500m G race.

Unlike McCrae, the former Spalding Grammar School pupil had to contend with the distraction of One Direction blaring away at the Etihad Stadium next door to the athletics track.

They began their set just before Kempson’s race but the 19-year-old kept his focus and ran superbly to finish just a shade outside the four minute barrier in 4:00.48.

He said: “I knew it was fast but I didn’t expect to be that close to a sub-four.

“I’m ecstatic after going from my previous PB of 4:05.11 to 4:00.48.”

Kempson will also be back on the track on Saturday when he again lines up over 1500m in the British League.

Thurlby thrower Robert Mohan was again in fine form at the weekend when finishing fifth in the shot at the Bedford International Games with 16.32m.