Middle distance maestro Bradley Yates overcame adversity to win a medal in the AAA national championships last weekend.
The 15-year-old from Lytham defied growth injuries to remain one of the country’s leading 800m runners and was rewarded for his efforts with a bronze medal at Bedford, despite being one of the youngest competitors in the U17 category. Having been rated England’s No.1 middle distance runner at U13 level, the determined Kirkham Grammar School pupil succeeded in remaining in the national top 10 despite his injury problems.
And Bradley, who runs for Sale, had extra motivation at the AAAs – he was determined to win a medal for his grandad, Charles, who lives in St Annes and has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Despite only returning to serious training last September, Bradley was crowned Lancashire 800m champion in May, following this by taking the Lancashire Schools’ title.
Bradley’s achievements are all the more remarkable because the absence of a U16 category forces him to compete against boys a year or more older.
His proud father Darren told AllStars: “My dad managed to be there for the Lancashire Championships, and Bradley told him he would make him proud in Bedford.
“The phone rang at grandad’s house on Saturday evening and it was Brad telling his grandad he had made the final.
“My dad was in tears and said ‘fantastic’ and ‘good luck in the final’. Bradley replied: ‘Don’t worry, grandad, I’m getting you a medal.’
“I was quite worried that Brad had put pressure on himself – just to make the final was amazing.
“Bradley led the final from the start and kicked clear at 400m. The field began to close and two went past him but Brad held on for bronze. He ran the race of his life and got his grandad’s medal. It was an incredible run and we are so proud of him.”
Bradley is now preparing for the UK School Games, in which he has been selected to represent the North West.
He would like to thank the following senior athletes who helped him regain full fitness: James Mulvaney, Steve Waterhouse, John Oliver, Andy Woodwood, John Wright, John Houghton and Malcolm Eadie.