Guernsey Press

Hodgson's 'unexpected' record is ahead of schedule

DARCEY HODGSON’S breakthrough result to become Guernsey’s second-fastest female 800m runner of all time was very much beyond her expectation.

Darcey Hodgson broke the Island U17 and U20 800m record at the English Schools Championships. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32275161)

The 15-year-old clocked a huge personal best of 2min. 9.72sec. for her intermediate girls’ heat at the English Schools’ Championships in Chelmsford, beating both the U17 and U20 Guernsey records.

This 4sec. PB gave her a superb send-off to the home Island Games. It is a very competitive time at senior level, being only 1sec. outside Nat Whitty’s Guernsey record.

‘I was hoping by the end of the season that I’d get 2-12, maybe 2-10 if possible, but 2-09 just felt like a different bracket – unexpected,’ the youngster said.

Coach Nick Marley’s watch did not start, which left him in suspense initially.

The leaders had gone off at a ferocious pace and Hodgson appeared relegated to near the back, but splits given by fellow coach Paul Ingrouille suggested that she was merely running a sensible race.

She held a consistent pace and claimed several overtakes in the last 200m, placing third and making the final. But Marley and Ingrouille were both in disbelief at the time.

‘When she came through and I saw the 2-09, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing to be honest,’ Marley said after estimating her capabilities based on training at 2-11 or 2-12.

‘She was in one of the highest-class races of the whole weekend – the times of the girls were ridiculous – and for me the big one was the maturity not to react to the pace, sticking to her race plan.’

Unsurprisingly, the race left many athletes weary for the final, where Hodgson placed a creditable sixth despite being at the younger end of the age group.

From the Guernsey girl’s perspective, the pace in the heat had come as a surprise.

‘They went off very quick and I wasn’t expecting it, but I thought I’d try and stick on the back, see how it goes.

‘It was helpful to be in the middle of the pack – runners behind pushing me, others dragging me along – and as I came round the bend I was able to try and increase the pace as much as I could trying to catch up.

‘The calibre of racing there was so high that it just pushed me to get that time.’

Ahead of the Games, where she is one of the fastest runners on paper, she added: ‘It’s made me more confident I can go out with the pace and hopefully hold it if I need to. It’s made me confident about sticking with the athletes if they do progress in the last 200.’

Senior boy Gian-Luca Robilliard also had to contend with a very swift start to his 800m heat.

The powerful runner suffered from the early start but held on enough to place seventh in 1-56.97.

Training ally Jack Le Tissier, contesting the senior boys’ 2,000m steeplechase, placed 11th in 6-33.45.

These two runners will also be competing at the home Games.