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Saturday, 23 May 2015

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Greg overcomes serious injury to take Scottish title

BARRASFORD’S up-and-coming running star Greg Urwin did not let an injury prevent him from becoming the Scottish national champion in the 800m.

Golden wonder: Greg Urwin, with the medal he earned for winning the 800m Scottish title.

Running through the pain barrier after tearing his calf just a couple of weeks previous, the 19-year-old former Tynedale Harrier won gold in the indoor Scottish Senior Championships.

Although classed as the Scottish nationals, the event is open to all home counties and the Tynedale lad, now representing Gateshead Harriers, came out on top in a highly competitive field.

He said: “I was over the moon because I didn’t expect it at all, so it was even better to win it.

“I tore my calf a month ago so I was taking a big risk by not wearing a strap, but I never felt it when I was running.

“I got two major bronzes last year and I wanted to win more this year, so I was pretty happy to win the gold.

“I have always been county and North-East champion but I have never won anything as big as this before.”

To qualify for Sunday’s final in Glasgow, Greg needed to come through a strong heat, with only the winner sailing through.

And his field was two to three seconds quicker than the others such was the competition, but he still managed to come first with a time of one minute and 55.09 seconds.

He said: “I thought I might be able to sneak a bronze going into the final, I felt prepared.”

But he surpassed even his own expectations to take gold medal with a slightly slower time than his heat, finishing in 1:55:13.

And it was a close call as the next three finishers were less than a second behind the Tynedale athlete.

Greg said: “It was a tough race and there were some really good runners in the event.

“And, because the other heats were slower, I thought the other runners may have had more in the tank and they would win.

“But I ran a consistent race and, at the 300m mark, saw a gap and went into it and I was leading the pack from then.

“I was absolutely chuffed to win, and it was a great feeling.”

The win has acted as inspiration to Greg, and he is aiming to get to the very highest point in the sport.

He said: “I am now looking more towards outdoors athletics and this win is going to push me on and I will try to manage a time for Olympics trials.

“I am still young so London will probably be too early, so I will more than likely be working towards the 2016 Games.”

The Scottish success has capped off a good few weeks for Greg who recently made the all-time top 10 list in the national 600m U20 indoor championships.

And he was full of praise for coach Doug Maxwell, a dedicated and motivational coach at Tynedale Harriers who picked up the coach of the year award at this year’s Tynedale Sports Council Awards.

Although he became a Gateshead Harrier two years ago after six years at Tynedale, Greg is still coached by Doug and he turns up for training at Tynedale on Tuesday evenings.

Greg said: “Doug has been very influential to me and is such a brilliant coach.

“He always said to me that I was too negative before races.

“He said that I needed to get my head in it, and he told me that I could do it and get a medal.”

Greg was not the only local representative in Glasgow, with Lea Stephenson, of Tynedale Harriers, competing in the 400m.

Despite finishing second in his heat with a season best time of 51.62, the 25-year-old just missed out on a place in the final.