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National champion Hayley McLean starting to enjoy the 400m
INTERNATIONAL hurdler Hayley McLean has claimed to be no great fan of the flat 400m but after becoming national champion she is starting to change her mind.
The 18-year-old shattered her 400m personal best to take gold in the under-20 women’s race at the England Indoor Championships in Birmingham, clocking 55.19s.
Incredibly the time chopped more than a second off her previous best and shows the plan McLean and coach Steve Mitchell had been working on, focusing on improving her speed without hurdles in the way, is already paying off.
“We wanted to work on my flat speed,” said McLean, from Stanford-le-Hope. “My 400m time was pretty shocking compared to everyone else, but that’s mainly because I’ve always hated them so don’t run them that often.
“But just this winter I’ve knocked more than a second and a half off my PB which is pretty amazing. “I actually didn’t know I had run that fast until I was up on the podium and the time was read out. I was just so happy just to have won the race I cried when I finished!
“Then to run that time as well was amazing. I couldn’t really have asked for a better start to the season.”
And the Palmer’s College student, who has said she gets bored running 400m without hurdles in the way, admits she is coming round to the idea of running a lap of the track, or two laps as the case is indoors.
“I am liking them a bit more,” she laughed. “I think I do prefer it indoors where because it’s two laps and you are not running in lanes the whole time which makes it a bit more tactical, which I enjoy.”
And McLean, whose big summer objective is to be part of the Great Britain squad heading to the European Junior Championships, believes she can still go faster.
That chance may come next month in the Celtic Cup where, should McLean run, she will represent England against other Home Nations.
“I still think I can run a lot quicker,” McLean said. “I could get the chance at the Celtic Cup but I’m not sure where it fits into Steve’s (Mitchell) plans. I wasn’t even going to have an indoor season this year so I never really factored this in, but I’m glad I changed my mind!”