Hastings-based athlete Ross Skelton gained his first Sussex senior gold medal on Saturday.
The 21-year-old won the 5,000 metre race at the Sussex Track Championships at the K2 in Crawley.
Skelton clocked 14:56.9, knocking nearly 30 seconds off his previous best. He was running for the Brighton Phoenix club, which he moved to from Hastings Athletic Club last year.
Skelton started running at Hastings AC aged 10, but didn’t see a breakthrough in his running until finishing third in the Sussex Schools’ Cross-Country representing ARK William Parker Academy aged 15.
Two years later in 2011, and now representing Sussex Coast College Hastings, Skelton won the Sussex Schools’ Cross-Country and also became Sussex Cross-Country champion, a title he retained the following year.
He then went on to university and represented St Mary’s in the BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) Cross-Country, finishing seventh overall in the shorter distance B race. In the same year he also finished seventh in the Southern Cross-Country Championships.
Skelton returned home to St Leonards last year and decided to make the move to Brighton Phoenix to be coached by Jon Bigg (husband of Olympian Sally
Gunnell) to improve his running.
This has meant a massive change to his training schedule which included a trip to Kenya for a month to run at high altitude in the village of Iten, where he was fortunate enough to meet Mo Farah and his coach.
Since returning from Kenya, Skelton has been following a strict training regime with many days containing a run in the morning and in the afternoon, and a long run every Sunday of around 15 miles.
He also has to fit in two gym sessions and track sessions over in Brighton every week. The plan is to return to Kenya for two months before tackling his first half marathon.