Baker gets a taste of the big time

Grace Baker - Hastings-based middle distance athlete

Grace Baker - Hastings-based middle distance athlete

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Hastings-based Aldershot, Farnham & District AC runner Grace Baker had a very busy but productive weekend.

Having won the under-17 women’s South of England 3,000m the previous weekend, the 15-year-old was invited to compete in the under-20 women’s 3,000m on the prestigious Diamond League programme at Crystal Palace last Friday.

By far the youngest athlete in the race, the Rye College student was initially a bit overwhelmed by her senior competitors and was forced out into lane three for much of the early part of the race.

Baker then found her stride, however, with a strong finish to come home seventh in a respectable time of 10:00.74, vowing not to get pushed around again whoever she was racing.

The next day, on rather tired legs, she had to raise her game to compete in the South of England under-17 women’s 1,500m at Ashford and came away with silver, just behind the Junior Olympic champion Sophie Riches in 4:35.88.

At the same event, Hastings AC talent Katie Garland finished second in the under-15 girls’ high jump with 1.55m. She also made the final of the 75m hurdles in Ashford, clocking 12.33 to finish sixth having run 12.22 in her heat.