Holly McArthur in action at Bedford when winning England Athletics U20 gold
To say Holly McArthur has had a thrilling and exhausting past couple of weeks would be something of an under-statement.
The talented and hard-working young Scottish CE athlete has broken the National Record for U20 Heptathlon not once but twice in a nine-day period after it had stood for 34 years!
In doing so she racked up five event PBs on her way to gold at the England Athletics champs in Bedford, and then a further four in Tenerife over the past weekend when she pushed the overall points tally up to 5478.
And, with that over the required standard for Euro Juniors selection by British Athletics, the National Academy athlete from the Whitemoss CE training group now looks odds-on to win a GB and NI vest in Grosseto, Italy, in July.
In Tenerife, Holly came up with personal best performances in the 100m Hurdles on the Saturday competition and followed that, remarkably, on the Sunday with three PBs in long jump, javelin and the 800m. She finished 5th in the International U20 Heptathlon competition in Arona.
All this after running an ‘extra’ event, as her coach Iain McEwan explained to scottishathletics while travelling home to Scotland.
‘Holly made what we thought was a great start early on the Saturday with 14.22 for a PB in the hurdles – until the Officials decided there had been a false start due to a recall gun mal-function,’ he said.
‘The athletes had a 30-minute break and then went back into it in 38-degree heat, but Holly kept it together and ran even faster for a superb 14.06.
‘A 1.61m in the high jump; a shot to 10.97m and a 24.95 in the 200m were all close to her existing PBs.
‘It meant Holly was ahead of her points tally from the previous week in Bedford overnight but, chasing the 5450 Euro U20 standard (required by British Athletics), she had more PBs with a 5.78m in the long jump and 35.58m in the javelin on the Sunday morning.
‘There was still work to be done in the 800m but again she came up with a PB at 2.13.69 and that took the points tally to 5478 – almost 150 more than the week before.
‘I am absolutely delighted for her to enjoy this kind of success because she works very hard indeed at her athletics and is improving in a number of events, as the PBs these past two weekends have shown.’
McArthur’s tally of 5478 is a new Scottish National U20 Record for heptathlon, subject to the usual ratification procedures, after she had broken the mark the previous week with 5332. That figure, at that time, was the best since 5246 in 1983.
*A number of young Scots are in the hunt for places with GB at the Euro Juniors in Italy – including (in no particular order) Ben Greenwood, Cameron Tindle, George Evans, Alisha Rees, Jemma Reekie, Lewis Brown and Jill Cherry.