SHE’S only just added the latest piece of silverware to her growing medal collection and already Laura Nicholson has her sights set on more success.
The talented Bandon teenager (17) collected the 2017 Celtic Ross West Cork Youth Sports Star award on Saturday night in recognition of her tremendous achievements last year but Laura’s focus is firmly on the future.
She will run in the 3000m at the AAI Indoor Games on February 4th and the All-Ireland schools’ cross-country championships in Waterford IT in March is also on her to-do list.
Busy times for the Bandon AC distance runner.
‘It will be my first 3k race ever, really. I’m excited about it,’ Laura said.
‘Last year I ran the 2k steeplechase but this year that is now gone up to 3k so the race next week will help me get a feel for it.’
One of her big targets this year is the world junior championships in July and she hopes to qualify in the 3000m steeplechase.
‘I have to see how it goes because, like I said, I’ve never ran this before so we’ll wait and see what happens. Hopefully I’ll get the qualifying standard.’
Honoured to chosen as the 2017 Celtic Ross West Cork Youth Sports Star, Laura is following in very famous footsteps and she singled out her coach, Steven Macklin, Athletics Ireland National Junior Endurance Coach, for special praise.
Laura joined Macklin’s training group last April and since then she is the girl with the Midas touch, almost everything she touches turns to gold.
‘I don’t think people realise how many hours and how much work Steven puts into our group, it’s not just with me, it’s with everyone,’ Laura said.
‘He has formed a great group and we all work well together; that makes training better and more fun and we all enjoy it.
‘He is there for us 24-7, he keeps training consistent and he always looks out for us.’
Macklin has also given Laura the confidence and belief to show her talents, and her results show the benefits.
‘He really helped me to believe more in myself,’ she said.
‘When you are in a race, you need that extra bit of confidence and he has helped me to develop that since he started coaching me.
‘Before I’d go into a race and I’d just run it but it’s a lot different now, how I approach it, how I think about it, how I react to different situations in a race.’