Steeplechase star Zak prepares for World Championships with Great BritainBy Adam Lee
June 30, 2011
Twyford middle-distance runner Zak Seddon will this weekend travel to northern France in preparation for the 2011 IAAF World Youth Championships.
The Piggott six-former has been chosen to represent Great Britain in the 2,000m steeplechase for the second successive year folowing a string of top performances on the track.
And, having run for GB at the Youth Olympics and Youth European Championships last summer, Seddon now faces his toughest task yet against the world’s elite runners at Under-18 level.
He will travel to Lille with the rest of his team-mates on July 3, before his heat on Wednesday July 6 and then, hopefully, the final on Friday 9.
And 17-year-old Seddon is aiming high, although he knows the quality of the competition will be as high as it comes.
“Looking at past results I think the World Championships are going to be a lot faster (than the Youth Olympics) – but I’ll be better equipped this time,” he said.
“I think the Youth Olympics were won in 5:37 last year, but the winning times for the World Championships are sub-5:30.
“I’m not sure if I’m capable of running that, but I’ve definitely got a chance of a medal.
“First and foremost I want to make the final, but then I want to finish quite high up and get in the mix – the top five has got to be my goal.
“I have to see how everyone runs when I get there, but in the heat if I can run sub-5:50 then I should be okay to make the final.”
Seddon’s performances so far this season have seen him carry on where he left off last summer.
He had effectively already gained the World Championship qualifying time of 5:55 thanks to his performances last season.
However, he needed to beat that time this season in order to prove he was progressing.
And beat it he did.
At the Berkshire Schools Athletics Championships at Palmer Park earlier this month, Seddon set a new championship record as he blew away the opposition to record a personal best time of 5:42.
Although that record-breaking display was more than enough for him to qualify for the Berkshire team to compete in the English Schools’ Track and Field Championships in Gateshead this weekend, his commitments to the GB squad had to take precedent.
Seddon, however, will get another chance to represent the county next year, when he moves into his final season before stepping up to the senior ranks.
But until then, he is concentrating solely on improving his times.
And, following his colossal victory at Palmer Park, he believes he can still improve on his personal best and will be working on doing so with the help of his coach, and Dad, Jeff Seddon.
“That race was pretty much on my own – usually when there are other people running with you it pushes you on, so I know I can run faster,” said Seddon.
“I was really happy and I didn’t expect to go that quick, but there’s more to come.
“I’d say this season has been going pretty well – my 1,500m times have come down by 11 seconds and my steeplechase by 10 seconds.
“I’ve stepped up the training since the last track season, I’ve not been ill and I’ve also avoided injury.
“I am out running five times a week for about half an hour then I go to the track three times a week for about an hour.
“My hurdling has got a lot better and so has my endurance.
“I’m getting older and stronger and also I’ve been able to train harder because of it.
“I feel my training sessions are improving all the time and it’s exciting going out each time and trying to see the improvement.”