Suffolk athlete Clements set to run for England in Spanish cross country event
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk athlete, Kieran Clements, who shot to fame as a junior by scooping a host of national titles in 2011, will make his senior debut in an England vest this weekend.
Clements, now aged 24, has been selected to run for England at the Atapuerca International Cross Country meeting in Burgos, Spain, this Sunday, one of nine races in the IAAF Cross Country Permit Series.
The former Ipswich Harrier spent five years studying in America, after his successful career as a junior athlete, but returned to England last year and has now decided to give it a go as a full-time senior athlete.
Clements has had a great season on the roads, finishing a superb third at the Manchester Half-Marathon on October 14 in a scorching 1hr 04mins 31secs, and only last weekend he registered a personal best of 29mins 40secs at the Leeds Abbey Dash 10K, where he finished fourth despite failing to meet his high expectations.
The impressive Clements, who comes from Hadleigh and went to Hadleigh High School, is looking forward to his Spanish adventure this weekend – the England senior men’s team is managed by Eamonn Martin, of Essex, a former London Marathon winner.
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“It’s a big run for me this weekend, running for England in Burgos,” explained Clements.
“This will be my first cross country since November, 2016, so it will be nice to get back on it.
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“Over in America, the cross country season goes from August to November, so I competed in 2016 but then came back to England and so missed the 2017 season.
“I was then injured last winter, and have since been running only on the roads and the track.
“I was happy with my Manchester Half-Marathon, especially as they were not great conditions on the day. I also spent most of the race running on my own. It was a good debut run over the (13.1-mile) distance, but I also think that I can knock a couple of minutes off that in future races.
“I’m looking to run a couple of half-marathons next year, perhaps Barcelona in February, which I know is a fast course, and either the Big Half or Reading Half in March.
“Last weekend, I ran the Leeds 10K. It didn’t go quite as I had planned, and I was a bit disappointed. I should have been in the top three and challenging for the win.
“It was not a good day for me, but then I knew that early on in the run and I still came out with a half-decent performance. Technically it was a PB on the roads, although I have run a minute faster on the track,” added Clements.
Clements had an outstanding career as a junior athlete, following in the footsteps of former Ipswich Harriers’ junior national medallists such as Tom Sharland, Sam Jacobs, Matt Barnes-Smith, Kelvin Hardy and Claire Holme.
He was second at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships in Nottingham in 2009, and finished eighth for two years on the trot at the English Nationals (Parliament Hill, 2009, and Leeds in 2010).
But it was in 2011 when Clements, by then a pupil at Northgate Sixth Form College, rose to become the top junior in the country.
He won the prestigious English National title at Alton Towers, having won the South of England title at Parliament Hill, and went on to also win the English Schools Cross Country Championships in Nottingham, to complete a memorable few months.
Clements then moved out to America, to study psychology at Iona College (in New Rochelle, New York) while training as part of an elite group.
“After my big year of 2011, I went out to America the following year and stayed there for five years, from the age of 18 to 23,” confirmed Clements.
“Out there I made big improvement in my running, but by the fifth year I was ready to come home. My running was not where I wanted it to be that year. I was just thinking about coming home and getting a job.
“I kept on training, but not seriously, while doing a sales job in London. That lasted about eight months, but then by coincidence I started not liking much job as much, while at the same time I was sidelined by injury.
“I suffered a stress fracture to my third metatarsal the week after the Great South Run, last October, but an enforced break from running has helped me.
“I came back running well, and so I’ve decided to give it a shot. I am now effectively a full-time athlete, for the time being,” added Clements, who now runs for Shaftsbury Barnet, although he is a second claim member of Ipswich JAFFA.
- Kieran Clements is associated with Run-Fast sports management. You can follow him on Twitter at @KieranClements plus on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/kieran_clements/