HAYLEY McLean’s magnificent summer continued has she won her first ever medal at the senior British Championships, smashing her personal best in the process.
The 19-year-old, from Stanford-le-Hope, stormed to a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles at Birmingham yesterday, finishing in 56.43s.
The medal adds to McLean’s growing list of accomplishments this summer.
She has been selected to represent England at the Commonwealth Games, has now lowered her personal best by nearly a second and may now even have an outside chance of being selected for the European Championships.
“I’m over the moon,” said McLean. “I thought I could get a medal. I don’t want that to sound arrogant. But my training has gone really well.
“I’ve been running really fast times in training and I knew that as long as I didn’t switch off, I had a chance.
“I attacked every hurdle and I knew if I did that then I would run a personal best. You can never effect what anyone else does, but I knew that as long as I ran a PB that was all that mattered.”
McLean says she will now return to two weeks of solid training ahead of the Commonwealth Games and had not considered the European Championships.
But there remains an outside shot that the former Palmer’s College pupil is added to the Great Britain team behind Elidh Child and Meghan Beesley who finished one and two in Birmingham yesterday.
McLean does not have the A-standard of 56.0s needed to make it to Zurich, but British Athletics has said, athletes who have the “potential to finish in the top eight at the European Championships or in future outdoor championships” will be considered.
McLean, the reigning European Junior champion, may just fall into that category.
“I’m not thinking about the Europeans,” said McLean. “I’ve got two weeks of solid training now then there are the Commonwealths and I would like to run 56.0s then. That’s my aim now, not the Europeans.”
It all marks a whirlwind few months for McLean and is a long way from the last time she appeared at the British Championships two years ago.
She came into those championships considering her future in the sport after not winning selection to the World Junior Championships and finished in seventh place.
“I know it’s a cliché, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and that’s what that year did to me,” said McLean.
“Every time I go on to the track now, I go out there to prove a point. To prove they were wrong to not take me two years ago.”
And McLean now feels she truly belongs among the elite of British women’s hurdling.
“It feels amazing to be up there with Elidh and Meghan and to perform well on a big event that’s on TV.
“I knew all my friends and family were watching back at home and I didn’t want to let anyone down. I thrive on that pressure.”