Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone at the John Taylor Foundation for awarding me this grant. Kit is expensive; and balancing this with travel, entry fees and other ventures can be difficult. It was a massive help to me. The money was used to buy energy gels, training tops, a jacket- as well as leaving some money set aside for cross country spikes come winter.
After receiving the kit for training, it helped me in the lead up to English Schools. I was competing in the 1500 Steeplechase, in my first ever time in the championships for track and field. The race was very closed and bunched, but with the eventual winner breaking away; I chose to give chase on the last lap. My real goal was an England vest (top two per event) and I “gave it a go”. However, I didn’t manage this and was ran down. I ended up being dipped and missed a medal by 0.07 of a second. This was absolutely gutting, but having been ranked 8th at the start, and finishing 5th– accompanied with a 5 second PB; this was something I could take away as positive.
A week later I competed in the Southern Inter-counties for Kent, again in the Steeplechase. I was very happy to pick myself up; and go gun to tape to win in a tactical race. It was a good feeling to pick up a title after the hard week prior; and this gave me some confidence going forward.
All the while, the kit I got from the grant was assisting me in my training- I ran two PBs of 1:59 for the 800m and 4:03 for the 1500m. Although I am pleased with these times, I definitely believe there is a lot more there; as long as my race craft is improved.
My biggest achievement of the season so far, was being selected for the England South-East team to compete at my first international event- being the UK Schools Games. I will be competing against the England regional sides, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and apparently Brazil! This is a big opportunity that I am grateful for.
In terms of the rest of the season, I am competing in the South of England 1500m; and of course the UK Schools Games. I am aspiring towards a medal in both- as this would cap off the season really well. Additionally, I am hoping to lower my 800m PB, and go “Sub 4” for the 1500m.
Finally, I would like to say thank you once more for the grant. It has been a huge help and I am very grateful.
Joss Barber (U17 M)