Rebecca Mersh Achieves World Youth Qualifying Time.

rebecca_mersh (1)Rebecca MeshRebecca Mersh’s goal of walking at the World Youth Games in Marrakech took great strides forward when she took competed in an event arranged especially to give the top U18 walkers the opportunity to better the tough 24.10 qualifying mark.
When it became apparent that there were no 5,000m track walks before the selection date City of Sheffield AC’s John Howley offered to organise a track event as part of the annual Jeff Ford Memorial Walks.
Rebecca’s fellow international Johanna Jackson agreed to come down from Redcar to help her keep a constant fast pace going throughout the twelve and a half laps of the track. With 2,000m to go the pair were 8 seconds adrift of the required time but they picked up the pace from 1.57 second laps to 1.54’s in the last 4 laps and Rebecca crossed the line 4 secs inside the required time standard with Johanna 6 seconds ahead.

12 June 2004 RWA National 35km walking championship

Nathan Adams (City of Sheffield AC) won his first National senior title when he led from the start of the RWA 35km and walked an isolated race on the sutton Park course. He maintained a 1 min 30 sec lead through the middle hour of the 3 hour race before stretching his lead to 6 mins. in the closing stages to record 3.06.25.

With team mate Peter Ryan coming home third there were hopes of a team victory too, but they were pushed back into silver medal position by 1 point. Nathan’s next race is over 20km in the Dublin European Grand Prix, representing England for the third successive year.

Redcar AC’s Johanna Jackson took 4th place in the women’s 10 km championship with a PB of 56.25, her first appearance in this event.

31.05.04 Inter-Counties champs Bedford

15 year old Rebecca Mersh (City of Sheffield AC) clung determinedly to junior international sophie Hales throughout the race and despite taking the lead around the final bend Rebecca was unable to resist Sophies finishing sprint crossing the line in 13.50.52 for a british record.

1.05.04 Race Walking World Cup Naumberg

With a Junior competiton included in the World Cup for the race_cupfirst time Great Britain were represented by two Kingston upon Hull walkers Kayie Stones and Jenny Gagg. Katie chose one of the most important events on the racing calender to beat her big rival Sophie Hales and lead the British team home to 7th place. Katie produced a PB of 50.29 in 12 place.

Jenny Gagg was the 3rd member of the team coming home in 38th position with 54.14

Rebecca Mersh had achieved the qualifying time but was too young for selection. The UKA invited her to travel with the team and compete in the open 5km event which she won in 24.59

Championships in Birmingham

In the AAA U20 indoor championships in Birmingham Sheffield’s Rebecca Mersh produced a time for the 3,000m walk 16 seconds faster than the all time indoor record held by Sheffield’s own Katie Ford. Katie achieved the UK U20 record when she was 16 years old, whilst being coached by her father Jeff Ford who died four years ago. He was national coach and acknowledged as one of the best coaches in the country, his memory will be honoured next month when the Jeff Ford memorial walks are held at Don Valley Stadium.

Rebecca has now bettered Katie’s time at the age of 15, though in the race itself she had to settle for third place as internationals Sophie Hales and Katie Stones fought out the lead 20 seconds ahead of her. Confused by the bell being sounded for the leading male walker as he was about to lap her Kingston upon Hull’s Katie Stones put in a big effort and looked to have the race won but defending champion Sophie Hales clawed her back in the last two hundred metres for a two second victory.

Rebecca Mersh

If two weeks ago you had asked 14 year old race walker Rebecca Mersh what her first major international target was, she would have replied ‘The World Youth Games – Marrakech 2005.’ That target has now been turned on its head after completing her first ever 10,000m race.

rebeccaNot only did Rebecca, who is sponsored by Esporta Fitness Club knock a colossal 4 min 43 sec off the UK age 14 best but even eclipsed the UK age 15 best set by Sheffield’s Olympian Vicki White (Lupton) 20 years ago. The new record of 53 min. 13 secs puts her within a minute of the times achieved by two of Britain’s competitors in a recent Junior International in Vienna. Rebecca explained ‘Two members of the British team are now a mere 50 metres and 200 metres ahead of me, that is nothing in a 25 lap race.’

National RWA Young Athletes Road champs at Leamington 26 April 2003


U13 National Champion Kathryn Granger (City of Sheffield AC) Under 13 girls 2km

1st Kathryn Granger City of Sheffield AC 10.15
3rd Emma Gatewood Kingston upon Hull AC 11.13
1st team City of Sheffield AC

Un 13 Boys 2km

3rd Mark Pratt City of Sheffield AC 11.19

2nd team City of Sheffield

Un 15 Girls 3km

1 Rebecca Mersh City of Sheffield AC 14.42 UK record

1st team Kingston upon Hull AC

Un 17 Girls 5km

1 Jenny Gagg Kingston upon Hull AC 26.24

Un 17 Boys 5km

3 Robert Moore Manx Harriers 26.35

Un 20 Girls 10km

2 Katie Stones Kingston upon Hull AC 52.25

Un 20 Boys 10km