Frisby athlete Mari Smith destroys PB to land British silver medal

Mari Smith (left) with winner Jess Judd (centre) and bronze medallist Steph Pennycock EMN-160305-165554002
Mari Smith (left) with winner Jess Judd (centre) and bronze medallist Steph Pennycock EMN-160305-165554002
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Mari Smith maintained all of her momentum from a stellar winter of cross country with a blistering start to the track season.

The Frisby middle distance runner is hoping to claim a place in the British Track Universities squad for the upcoming Loughborough International meet after a stunning performance last weekend.

The 19-year-old spent most of April in the United States visiting the Ivy League Universities on a trip organised by the University of Birmingham’s Athletics Club.

While stateside, Smith ran twice over 1500m, winning both races comfortably and lowering her personal best by a second to 4min 31secs.

But the performances seemed to be a mere warm-up for last weekend at the British Universities Track and Field Championships, in Bedford.

She finished a comfortable second place in her 1500m heat on Saturday behind Commonwealth Games finalist Jess Judd to make Sunday’s final.

Smith ran a brilliant final to finish second to Judd, winning the silver medal and taking a huge six seconds off her PB.

Following a pedestrian first 200 metres, she was the only runner to attempt to follow Jess who continued to string the field out over the next two laps.

With about 500m left, Judd had broken clear and Steph Pennycook, the Scottish Universities 800m champion, overtook the Leicestershire runner as they entered the home straight for the penultimate time.

But full of confidence, Smith refused to buckle. With 300m to go she was on Pennycook’s shoulder and with 150m to go, Smith cut loose and blew her rival away to clock a magnificent 2.25.