Champion Team GB athlete visits Durham to inspire young runner
North East athletics star Laura Weightman has been in Durham to inspire other runners just days after storming to victory in the 1500m at the British Athletics Championships in Birmingham. By winning her race on Sunday, Weightman, who is coached by Steve Cram, has qualified to compete for Team GB at the World Athletics Championships in London next month.
Three days after her performance in Birmingham, Laura Weightman visited Durham to meet one of the potential future stars of her sport. Last year, Emily Chong took everyone by surprise by winning the women’s race at the inaugural Prince Bishops Durham City 5K, aged only 12. Chong, from Chester-le-Street, will return to defend her title on Wednesday 19 July, and Weightman met her ahead of the race to offer advice on making the most of her talent.
Laura Weightman comments: “The North East has always been a hotbed of athletics talent, with my coach Crammy being a prime example of that. It’s fantastic to see youngsters like Emily come through from the grass roots of the sport and events like the Prince Bishops Durham City Run provide excellent opportunities for them to test themselves and get a taste of a big race atmosphere. It was great to meet Emily and her friends – she has a huge amount of potential and I will be watching her progress closely.”Emily Chong adds: “It was really amazing to hear from someone who has competed in the Olympic Games and who I aspire to be like. Laura was very friendly and down to earth for an athlete who has achieved so much. We asked her some tough questions and she answered all of them brilliantly. “I’m really looking forward to the Durham City Run 5K and I think it will be even better than last year. The course is a bit different and defending my title will be a whole new experience for me.”
Weightman and Chong also joined other local runners to take part in the latest Start Me Up For Durham (SMUFD) session in the city centre, designed to help less experienced participants prepare for the 10K and 5K races later this month.
The 2017 Prince Bishops Durham City Run is being organised by Events of the North, supported by Durham County Council, and with Prince Bishops Shopping Centre as headline sponsor. The event is almost sold out, with fewer than 100 places left across the two races, and 2,500 runners are set to take on the challenges of the city centre’s cobbled streets and undulating roads in the 5K and 10K.
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