Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sarah Following in Father's Footsteps

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sarah Following in Father's Footsteps

Article excerpt

Byline: By Bill McGuirk

This week in 1964, Basil Heatley won the marathon silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Last Saturday, in front of a handful of weary spectators, his daughter Sarah tasted victory in the Morpeth 11km road race.

However, the success by his 40-year-old offspring was just as sweet after she moved to the region just under two years ago to take up a post at Newcastle General Hospital.

"I didn't run at all as a youngster despite my dad's success," said Sarah, "but you could say I'm making up for lost time.

"At school I thought running was too much like hard work and I can even remember cheering on my twin sister, Ruth, who thought the same as I did about athletics, coming in last in a school cross-country race.

"Not a very good advertisement for my dad, who not only won an Olympic silver medal but also won the International Cross-Country Championships, the forerunner of the modern day World Championships.

"I was a student nurse in Worcester at the time of the running boom just over 20 years ago when I decided to give running a go because everyone seemed to be doing it.

"I was running 50-60 miles a week for fun, but I picked up a back injury ( nurses then did much more heavy lifting than they do today ( and it has stayed with me until this day."

Sarah continued to improve in spite of the injury and in 1997 her career really moved on.

"1997 really was a good year which saw me make my marathon debut.

"I ran the Manchester Marathon in 2hrs 53min 05sec despite chatting to a male runner the whole way round!

"I trained for the following year's Manchester race which included in the build-up, the Wolverhampton Marathon, which I used as a training run and won in 3:01.

"Unfortunately, I aggravated my back doing that and didn't manage the 1998 Manchester event.

"However, I did do the Sheffield Marathon the following spring, ran 3:04, and in doing so, won the South Yorkshire AAA title. …

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