Berwick athlete Guy Learmonth has scored a hat trick of BUCS titles, after winning his third indoor gold at the prestigious championships.
Running for Loughborough at the British University and College Championships over the weekend, Learmonth rounded off his indoor season in style, crossing the line in 1.50.95 to beat Robert Needham and Ben waterman into second and third respectively.
After cruising through the rounds - wearing trainers in the heats - the former Longridge Towers student, trained by George Gandi in Loughborough and Henry Gray at home, stepped into his spikes and upped the pace to make his mark in the BUCS Gatorade Nationals final.
“It’s my third BUCS indoor title and my fourth overall, so I’m very happy with that,” he said. “It’s potentially my last ever BUCS so it was great to go out there and to win it in the Loughborough colours. My coach said to me to get to the front and control it (the race) - not to necessarily go too fast.
“It wasn’t very fast through 400 metres but enough to get some breathing space and I made sure I finished strong in the last 200 metres.
“I looked over my shoulder with 50 metres to go and knew I was going to win the race. I kind of shut down then and enjoyed the moment of crossing the line in first place.”
It was the prospect of toppling his own record that convinced the 21-year-old to have a final crack at the BUCS Gatorade Nationals, after setting an 800m record back in 2011 as a first-year student.
The decision was up-in-the-air until last Tuesday, as the middle distance runner feared the effects of extending his indoor season too far into the New Year.
Having already secured safe passage to this summer’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Learmonth is already fully focussed on the task in hand.
However, he could not resist returning to the BUCS Gatorade Nationals – his last opportunity to represent Loughborough University – and line up for the 800m at the Sheffield EIS arena.
And although he didn’t better the championship record time of 1.49.29 that he set in 2011, Learmonth thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. “It is always a great competition and there is always a great buzz,” he said.
“I didn’t manage to run at the BUCS indoors last year and was looking forward to getting involved and producing the goods for Loughborough.
“I didn’t want to do too much of an indoor season, I was just kind of weighing up all the options but I’m happy I did it. Hats off to George for getting me ready for another championships, and to my coach at home Henry Gray.
“It’s good to win domestic championships and representing Loughborough and the university is a great honour as well,” he said.
This year has got off to a promising start, He clinched the 600m at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Indoor International last month and followed that up with an encouraging run at Birmingham’s British Athletics Grand Prix.
Now his thoughts are turning to the outdoor season and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games this summer.
“Now I have to get back into the hard work and get ready to go,” he said.
“I’ll be going out to train in Colorado for four or five week, so I’ll be based out there in the states and then I’ll get back for the summer season, get back on the European circuit again and get ready for the Commonwealths..”
And Berwick’s own rising athletics star feels a big PB is just around the corner. “I’m not afraid to say it - my target for this year is to go out and get 1.45,” he said.
Gatorade is the exclusive nutrition and hydration partner to British Universities & Colleges Sports and headline sponsor of the BUCS Gatorade Nationals. BUCS and Gatorade work together to educate student athletes on the importance of sports nutrition and hydration - visit: www.bucs.org.uk/gatorade