Hebburn's Sarah McDonald caps great year with top 10 place in Merit Rankings UK Women

Hebburn's emerging international, Sarah McDonald, has reached eighth and fifth respectively for 800m and 1500m in the 2016 Merit Rankings UK Women.
Sarah McDonaldSarah McDonald
Sarah McDonald

The medical student at Birmingham University captured several important titles in a successful year.

The former junior at South Shields Harriers and Jarrow and Hebburn AC has reduced her times for 800m and 1500m considerably.

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After joining Birchfield Harriers while based in the Midlands she was then invited into the training squad at Loughborough University under the experienced guidance of the legendary Bud Baldero, who has trained numerous athletes to Olympics level.

On her way to impressive victories, Sarah lowered her times for 800m to her present best of 2;01.10.

Moving up to 1500m, she was even more prominent and was awarded her first Great Britain vest in June and surged to an impressive victory on her debut in Bratislava.

With her time now reduced to 4;07, Sarah is able to be in contention for victories in international events and she was just outside a place for Rio with a close fourth in the Olympic Trials at Birmingham in July.

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Scotland’s Laura Muir heads the rankings in the 800m and 1500m, with Laura Weightman, of Morpeth, placed second in the latter distance.

Alyson Dixon, of Sunderland Stroller, heads the marathon list and Shildon’s Kate Avery is at number seven for the 5000m.

Sparrow Morley, of Sunderland Harriers, won the South Shields Monthly Mile in mid-week.

Morley recorded 4;53 for the Bents Park course with Jason Harding, of Elvet Striders, Durham City, second in 5:20.

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Neil Reay, from South Shields Harriers, was 15th in 7:53 and first over 50 with Ross Punton 17th in 8;59.

Shona Hasting, of Newcastle University, was fourth overall and first woman with 5:53.

Jackie Heads, from the Shields club, was fifth in 7:58 and first over 50 with Michelle Loftus eighth in 8:24 and second over 50.

Only the area Park Runs provide racing competition for local runners tomorrow at South Shields, Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead, Whitley Bay, Chester le Street and Durham are all venues for the popular free events over 5km at 9am.