Quiet resolve fuels 'huge' advances for sprinter
There is a quiet determination within Hannah Shepherd, the kind of resolve and work ethic that gets results.
At the Harold Nelson Classic held at the Saxton Field Athletics Track on Saturday, the year 13 Nayland College sprinter showed what the sum of those traits was worth, winning the 100m and recording a personal best to pick up the double in the 200m.
The achievement was all the more special for Shepherd, as she was able to beat Nelson College for Girls' sprint star Claire Erasmus in both events.
In the 100m Shepherd held off Erasmus, Katie Thompson and Rosie Richmond-Taylor, recording a winning time of 13.23sec. A personal best of 26.92sec in the 200m saw her put a stride on regular winner Erasmus.
Hannah's coach Dennis Kale said the improvement in her over the last 12 months had been "huge".
He said some of that was down to changes in technique enhancement including leg recovery and arm work, "ironing out" a natural round action into straight lines.
"Hannah has gone from being an average-good runner to competing at a very high standard.
"It is really pleasing to see someone like Hannah start getting the results, from all the hard work she has put in.
"The nice thing is there is more improvement in Hannah yet to come."
Shepherd said the long road back after some disappointing results at nationals had all been worthwhile.
"I am really happy with my results," she said. "I have improved my times quite a lot, and to finally beat Claire is a huge achievement, because that has never happened before. It's been a personal goal for a long time.
"It's all come from determination and hard work I guess. I have improved my 200m by more than a second."
Shepherd said she could not have made the strides forward without the help of her coach and the "Speed Freaks" training squad, that form a support crew and a "bit of a family" as well.
Shepherd's goals for this year were to win her events at the South Island champs and make the finals at nationals. And, if she has that firmly fixed in her mind, you'd be brave to bet against her.
The Nelson Mail