Personal Bests/Colour-code key:
Flat - women's only
camp with Kelly
an Under 15, Dani was 3rd in the series.
was 6th at the English Schools Cross-country Championships in Hylands Park,
Chelmsford in 14:02.
won the U15 girls race in the 2002-2003 Reebok Challenge series at Belfast, in a
time of 13:40. She was also 5th at Nottingham and 7th at Margate and
Danielle was 10th in the
Inter Girls' race at
the English Schools Cross-country Championships (Stanmer Park, Brighton) in March.
Danielle won the 1500m at
the Surrey Schools Athletics Championships.
Danielle was 7th in the
South of England Cross-country U17s Race at Parliament Hill, London in a time of
At the English
Danielle was 5th.
Christmas (137) was
fifth in the English
National and has benefited from international races in Spain and Belgium
this winter in England and South of England representative teams.
was 2nd in the U17s race at the Reebok
Inter-counties in Nottingham.
||In March, Danielle was 4th in the Inter Girls'
race at English Schools in Maidstone, Kent.
|English schools T&F:
Danielle Christmas wins the Inter Girl's 1500m
|Surrey's Danielle Christmas,
streaked ahead to win the Intermediate Girls' 1500m at the English Schools Track
and Field Championships in Gateshead with a 2 second margin, in an extremely
high-class field, with a national standard time of 4:24.77. Danielle's
heat, where she qualified 2nd, was an incredibly close race, with just 1
second separating the 4 qualifiers.
British Schools International took place at Melbourne Park Athletics Centre,
Chelmsford on Saturday 17 July, in cold and wet conditions.
from Surrey won the 1500m in a time of 4:24.2, ahead of Welsh Schools Champion Non
Stanford, who finished second in 4:25.85.
Best and her club-mate Danielle
Great Britain to victory against Australia in an Under-20s international
two friends travelled together to Manchester and Christmas came away with
victory in the 1,500 metres, while Best won the 800m.
actually sealed victory for Britain in the match by being part of the
victorious 4x400m relay team which gained the winning points after it was
all-square going into the last event.
from Horley, set a new personal best and club record a week earlier by
gaining silver in the 1500m at the Under-20 National Championships in
was 3rd in the Junior Women's Great North Mile race in Newcastle in September.
Camp with Kelly
Camp with Kelly
Crawley Athletics Club stars Danielle Christmas and Charlotte
Best have been earned themselves a unique chance to learn how
to become an Olympic champion.
have been selected as part of a squad of only eight from Great
Britain to train for a month in South Africa with double gold
medallist Kelly Holmes.
Christmas and Best were among 15 of the best young middle distance
runners who went for interviews with Kelly and chiefs from UK
Athletics in Birmingham.
And they made the final eight, based upon attitudes to running as
decided by Kelly herself.
will fly out to Kelly's main training base in Potchefstroom, 90
minutes south west of Johannesburg on October 25.
camp is organised by UK Athletics and is sponsored by Norwich
Kelly said: "I
have planned this camp since January and am very pleased that
Norwich Union have agreed to fund my initiative.
"I am as keen as ever to show the next generation of athletes
all sides of being a full-time athlete, both good and bad and hope
these girls will enjoy the experience and return with a strong
determination to success."
Under-17s 800 metres and English Schools Under-17s 1,500m champion
Christmas, 16, from Horley said: "It's
an amazing opportunity to do warm weather training and altitude.
"Kelly Holmes really deserves her success – she's a real
inspiration to most sports people, not just athletics and I am
really looking forward to working with her.
"It would be good to make the Olympics and it's a case of
sticking with athletics as long as my body allows."
She will be taking college work out with her to keep up with her
A-level courses she has just started at Reigate College.
Christmas was on BBC1 TV on Saturday when she represented England
against the home countries in the Junior Women's Great North Mile,
finishing third behind Scotland's Morag Maclart and Azmera Gerezgi
from the Republic of Ireland.
girl Holmes gave another great example to her young unstudies,
winning the Senior Women's race.
19, from Salfords, is a former national Under-17s 800m champion
and won a bronze at the National Under-20s Championships this
She said: "To
learn from someone like Kelly herself will be amazing. It will be
springtime out in South Africa which will be nice and will be
great to have a month's view of a full-time athlete.
"It will be nice to be with a friend (Danielle) and is great
for Crawley Athletics Club."
dad is club chairman Nigel. he said: "It's
a trip of a lifetime for the girls. It's not just a training camp.
It will give them an education into what life is like as a
full-time athlete so they will learn about psychology, diet and
tremendous for our club to be supplying 25 percent of the athletes
for this venture and it is a big achievement for their coach,
Charlotte's father Mark."
SELECTS CRAWLEY STAR
Camp with Kelly
Christmas has been selected in a elite group of eight U20 runners to
take part in a training camp with double Olympic champion Kelly
Holmes and is to travel to South Africa on October 25.
Camp is in Potchefstroom where Holmes, who won gold at 800m and
1500m in Athens, has been based for her major training for the past
the four week experience, the girls will gain an insight into
Holmes' vast experience in aspects such as nutrition, physiotherapy,
medical issues, training methods and other areas of living as a
full-time athlete. Prior to departing for South Africa, the girls
will attend a camp get-together day at Crystal Palace on October 16.
they will be given medical assessments, meet the camp supervisors
and other members of the 'On Camp with Kelly' management team.
said of the camp: "I
have planned this camp since January and am very pleased that
Norwich Union have agreed to fund my initiative. I am as keen as
ever to show the next generation of athletes all sides of being a
full time athlete, both good and bad and hope that these girls will
enjoy the experience and return with a strong determination to
who came third in the junior women's race at Great North Mile run in
Newcastle at the weekend, said: "It
is amazing to be selected.
were selected on our determination and attitude towards athletics. I
know all the other girls because we all race with each other. Kelly
Holmes is a real inspiration and it shows what you can achieve with
a lot of hard work."
CHRISTMAS AIMS FOR COMMONWEALTH MEDAL
CRAWLEY Athletics Club
runner Danielle Christmas is enjoying the time of her life after
completing a month's special training camp with Olympic gold medallist
The Horley 16-year-old
returned home from South Africa on Saturday brimming with confidence
after her incredible experience.
But instead of putting her feet up and enjoying a well-earned rest, on
Monday the middle-distance star repacked her bags and left for
Melbourne, Victoria in Australia.
She has become one of only two young athletes in the whole of Sussex to
be selected to represent England in the forthcoming Commonwealth Youth
Christmas will be supported Down Under by her dad Nigel, who is chairman
of Crawley AC.
She has been selected to run in both the 800 metres and the 800m leg of
the medley relay.
Speaking on her way to meeting up with her team-mates at Heathrow
Airport on Monday morning, she said: "I
want to get a medal and give it my best shot and see what happens."
It was this never-say-die attitude which helped her become personally
selected by Kelly Holmes to become one of only eight British runners to
go to the training camp, held in Pottsdam near Johannesburg and
sponsored by Norwich Union.
There the group
experienced what life would be as an international athlete.
As well as physical training, the girls learned about the correct mental
approach to take.
And during the course of the month they were joined by a group of top
young South African runners, which gave a good example of the importance
of mixing well and sharing with other athletes.
Christmas, an AS-level pupil at Reigate College, said: "The
whole trip was special.
"Kelly Holmes gave us a talk on race tactics. She gave each person
individual tips, which was really good.
"We got on well among ourselves and it was interesting when we
trained with the South Africans.
"They don't have the same funding system like we have.
"A couple of girls were from shanty towns, but were really good
"It was an amazing experience as we were shown what it is like to
be a full-time international athlete.
"And now I know what it is like, that is what I want to do.
"I had an ankle injury for the first couple of weeks which was
quite frustrating as I couldn't do all the runs.
"But I did special aqua-training and gym work to keep myself
Christmas now cannot wait to put her newly-learned experience into
practice. She said: "It
was perfect preparation for the Commonwealths as we did altitude
And in between all the work of the camp and socialising with her
colleagues, she even found time to catch up with some of her college
work, which she took out with her.
Danielle competes for England in the 800m on Thursday, December 2.
TAKES GOLD IN AUSTRALIA
by spending a month with Double Olympic Champion Kelly Holmes in South
Africa, Danielle Christmas has taken Gold in the 800m at the Commonwealth
Youth Games in Australia, holding off South African fellow 'On Camp With
Kelly' participant Angela Wagner, who had to settle for 3rd.
capped a successful year that has included winning English Schools and AAA
titles, she scorched to victory in a time of 2:10.38.
|HAPPY CHRISTMAS FOR
Club star Danielle Christmas is celebrating the biggest win of her
On Friday she won
the 800 metres gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Australia.
It came straight after spending a month training with Olympic gold
medallist Kelly Holmes at a special camp in South Africa.
Competing for England at Under-19s level in Melbourne, in
Victoria, she overcame her faster rivals to scrape home in the
last 20 metres.
She spoke exclusively to the Crawley Observer just one hour after
arriving home from Down Under on Monday afternoon.
A-level student Christmas, 16, from Horley said: "I flew over
expecting to get a medal but I felt so good in the days leading up
to the race I decided to go for gold.
one of the girls, South African Angela Wagner, had run two seconds
faster than me and was favourite to win.
"But I felt I could run faster than my previous best because
of the training I have had.
"It was a slow first lap and I just hung in there.
"With 200m to go I found myself jointly in the lead with an
"I was expecting Angela - who I got to know at the camp in
South Africa - to catch up, so I saved something for the finish.
But it was the Australian who drew level with me with 20m to go
and I had to duck for the finishing line."
Christmas won in the relatively slow time of 2.10.37s, comfortably
outside her personal best of 2.08.0s
She said: "It
was so close on the line I had to ask if I'd won and it didn't
really sink in - in fact it still hasn't now!"
Just two hours later Christmas was in action again, running
another 800m in the medley relay.
Ironically she was again pitted against her Australian rival in
the final straight, but this time lost out at the end, 100th
second behind in fourth place.
She said: "I
could feel the tiredness of the previous race in my legs, but
still went for it and in fact finished in a faster time than in
the individual event."
Her gold medal contributed to the England athletics team's tally
of 26 medals in 31 events.
She added: "It
was a good team effort and being in South Africa helped a lot to
deal with things in Australia. I'd like to thank my coach Mark
Best and Kelly for their help."
Following her overnight flight from Australia, Christmas still did
not miss training at Crawley AC at Crawley Leisure Centre on
Monday night, where she was deservedly the centre of attention.
Mark Best said: "Danielle's
had a tough time being away from home for the last six weeks and
she rose to the occasion.
"I knew she was in good shape and of
course she had good tactical and physio support in good conditions
in South Africa, which will have helped her a lot."
||English National XC
||Danielle took the silver
medal at the English Schools Cross-Country Championships at the Norfolk
Showground in Norwich behind Essex's Danielle Sale.
|English Schools XC 2005
Danielle Christmas (615), Silver medallist
FOR A DECADE
CHRISTMAS became the first runner from Crawley in more than a
decade to win a medal at the English Schools Cross-Country Championships. The
17-year-old Crawley AC star finished a superb runner-up in the 4.3km
Senior Girls event in Norwich on Saturday.
Her dad, Crawley AC chairman Nigel Christmas praised: "It
was a great achievement as she only began cross-country training in
January, rather than September which is the normal start.
"As far as I know this was the first time anyone from Crawley AC has
won a medal at the championships in the last 15 years."
Representing Surrey Schools, Danielle, from Horley, finished the muddy
course in 16mins 2secs, seven seconds behind winner Danielle Sale from
Camp with Kelly
Kelly met up with the junior girls she took to South Africa last year, at
Loughborough University on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 April and gave her
full support to mentoring the talented middle distance runners to achieve
their dreams in athletics.
started the two-day programme talking to the athletes, parents and
coaches, reflecting on the Norwich Union sponsored ‘On Camp with
Kelly’ experience in South Africa and looking ahead to their future:
really believe some of you will be at the 2012 Olympic Games, hopefully in
London. Competing in front of a home crowd would be absolutely
announced plans for the girls to compete in two unique junior races this
summer; at the Norwich Union International in Glasgow on 5 June and what
promises to be a wonderful occasion at Sheffield on 21 August when Kelly
races in her last track meeting in Great Britain.
will be amazing, we’ve got big plans for that event! I want you all to
be there racing.”
arranged for her Coach, Margo Jennings, currently teaching at an
Elementary School in Oregon, USA to fly over to give inspirational talks
on motivation and planning to the group.
was passionate about the importance of mental training to athletes’
preparation, she said: “The
greatest athletes in the world, all have highly developed mental skills,
which take years to develop. I firmly believe that training your brain is
as important as training your body.
should be seen as springboards. Adversity can be an inspirational
is so important to surround yourself with motivating people, that believe
in you. In Athens, Kelly’s room was full of motivational statements,
quotes and good luck messages. That makes you feel positive.
have never seen such focus and concentration in an athlete, as Kelly was
in Athens. She was completely absorbed and performed precisely as she
visualised. It took incredible mental strength to win the 1500m, after the
800m, but she did it!”
Physician Dr Paul Dijkstra, who is based in Potchefstroom, South Africa
also made the trip to Loughborough and gave a series of detailed lectures,
reviewing the topics covered ‘On Camp with Kelly’ and presentations on
nutrition and injury prevention.
athlete also benefited from a physiotherapy check up with Alison Rose, a
member of Kelly’s invaluable support team in Athens and a full medical
with Paul Dijkstra.
the final day, Kelly confirmed that she would take three athletes and
their coaches to train with her in Europe in June,
lucky three are: Dani Christmas (Crawley AC), Non
Stanford (Swansea Harriers) and Charlotte
Browning (Aldershot, Farnham and District AC).
off an inspirational weekend, Dame Kelly said:
girls have all matured beyond belief, they are very motivated. Everyone of
you can achieve great things. I believe that you can make it, that’s why
I put my time, energy and commitment into you girls.
will be your mentor for as long as you want me to be. No matter how busy I
am in my life, and it’s pretty hectic at the moment, I will always have
time for you.
will not be easy, there will be obstacles in your way. My obstacles and
darkest days were very very long. I came from those darkest darkest days
to the biggest light there can ever be, winning at the Olympic Games!”
I retire, I want to see my girls performing the best you can!”
Milfield - Fresh
from their Loughborough get-together with Dame Kelly, Danielle Christmas
(Crawley AC) won an enthralling Women’s 1500m A race and 16-year-old Non
Stanford (Swansea Harriers) cracked the 3000m qualifying standards for
both this summer’s European Junior Championships and World Youth
Championships on a windy night when records fell and standards showed
signs of soaring.
Arguably the most
exciting and high quality race of the evening was the Women’s 1500m A
race, featuring just some of the teenage talents who are confidently
expected to beat the UK Athletics qualifying standard of 4:20.00 for the
European Junior Championships before the official Trials take place at the
Norwich Union AAA Under 20 and Under 23 Championships at Bedford on 2-3
Pidgeon (Gloucester AC), who is not 16 until next month, took off with
three laps to go and built an imposing lead before being dramatically
caught in the final 20 metres. Christmas crossed the line first in
4:25.16, just outside her current PB. Another Under 20, Carolyn
Plateau (Radley Ladies) snatched second in 4:25.53. Pidgeon was third in
4:25.59 with yet another Under 20 from Kelly’s
Camp, Hannah England (Oxford City) fourth in 4:26.16.
in horrendous windy and wet conditions, Crawley AC stars Charlotte
Best and Dani Christmas both disappointingly finished at Loughborough
in their events.
Charlotte recorded 2m
6.41secs in Under-25s 800m, just a second behind the winner.
Dani was 20 seconds
off her best in the Under-20s 1,500m with 4m 44secs. She contests the
South of England Under-20 Championships in Portsmouth this weekend.
UNION GRAND PRIX, GLASGOW
1000M ‘ON CAMP WITH KELLY’ RACE 1:
on a chilly, some would say wintry, afternoon, Christmas arrived early.
Danielle Christmas, that is, the reigning Commonwealth Youth Games 800m
Champion ran like a true professional, content to run Kelly-like in the
pack until the bell, when she moved into a threatening position before
taking the lead and stretching away over the last 250 metres.
All of which came as a pleasant surprise, as she explained: “I
didn’t know what to expect because I haven’t been running well in the
last couple of weeks. I had a blood test because the problem seemed to be
viral. As much as you try to push all of the doubt out of your mind,
it’s still hard to do.
But Kelly told us last night to plan every step of today from when we woke
up to what race tactics we would employ, and I focussed on that as much as
AAA U20 Track & Field
While the amazing Emily Pidgeon
(Gloucester) is expected to aim for the 5000m in Kaunas, she inevitably
dominates the rankings all through the distances. She is European Juniors
No.1 at 1500m has gone three seconds quicker this season than MacLarty,
who is second in the UK rankings and fourth in Europe with 4:20.97.
underline the growing UK strength, Abby Westley is seventh in Europe with
4:21.99 – and then there are Kelly’s
Campers entering the fray Charlotte
Browning (Aldershot, Farnham and District), Danielle Christmas
(Crawley), Hannah England (Oxford City), the Euro Juniors 3000m rankings
leader Non Stanford (Swansea), Danielle
Walker (Royal Sutton Coldfield) and Marrakech-bound Sian
will be the overwhelming favourite even though the field includes
European Junior 1500m Champion Morag
MacLarty (Central AAC), who won at
the Birmingham Cross Challenge at the start of this month and was last
weekend named Scotland’s Athlete of the Year; in-form Nicola
Sykes, who set a course record
in leading Bedford and County AC to victory at the ECCA Relays
Championships a fortnight ago; and several members of the squad being
mentored by Olympic double Champion Dame
Kelly Holmes including Charlotte
Browning (Aldershot, Farnham and
District), Dani Christmas
Edwards (Kettering), Hannah
England (Oxford) and Non
Stanford (Swansea Harriers).
of England Championships
Junior 800m has a field that is far more competitive than the senior
women's and could feature the quartet that set the British 4 x 800m U20
record last week. Crawley trio Hannah
Goodall and Dani
(Oxford City) will also have opposition from fast improving Stephanie
Farnham & District) and Jessica
(Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) - the latter two were well inside the
Beijing World junior standard at 1500 last week. Sparke,
are also entered for the 1500m.
Solihull, June 2006
(Crawley) won the Women's B 800m in 2:05.67, inside the 2:06 qualifying
time for the World Junior Championships in Beijing.