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Dartford Harriers' Holly Page to run the 3,000m steeplechase at the IAAF World U20 Championships

Holly Page has spoken of her delight at making Great Britain's team for the IAAF World U20 Championships.

Page, who's been a Dartford Harriers member for nine years, will run the 3,000m steeplechase in Tampere, Finland.

She thought she'd be too clumsy for the event when her coach suggested it two years ago but now the 17-year-old is preparing to race the best young athletes in the world.

Holly Page on her way to victory in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Loughborough International Picture: Ben Page
Holly Page on her way to victory in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Loughborough International Picture: Ben Page

"I'm ecstatic," said Page. "I didn't think it was really possible at the start of the year but I've just had such a great season and I'm thrilled.

"Last year I wasn't really racing that well but I had a really good cross-country season where I won the English Schools Championships and came top 10 in all the other big national events.

"I started on the track again in the steeplechase and immediately got a 17-second PB so I thought 'wow, that's good going' but I still wasn't near the qualification time.

"I was picked for Great Britain for the Loughborough International and racing there, beating all the others, that pushed me on to get that time.

"The more people you can beat, it gives you confidence that you can do it."

Page joined Harriers aged eight and began training properly at 12 but the steeplechase wasn't on her radar back then.

She said: "I must have been 15 when I took it up. I got bored of just running round the track so my coach told me to try the steeplechase and I fell in love with it.

"I thought I was too clumsy for that so it was quite a shock when I was OK at it!

"The challenge is the sheer volume of barriers. There's 35 in a race so after a few laps, everything starts to hurt. It's still seven-and-a-half laps of the track so it's a long way."

Page, who lives in Bexley, studied at Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School and has just finished her A Levels at St Olave's in Orpington.

She flies to Finland with Team GB on July 8 before the championships start two days later.

Page said: "I'd really like to make the final. Realistically I'm not going to medal because there are some Kenyans who are over a minute faster than me.

"So making the final would be a great step and just the experience of my first big international competition.

"I'd like to run sub-10 minutes for the 3k steeplechase. That's a goal of mine over the next couple of years and I'm targeting more international competitions."

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