TEENAGER Kelly-Marie Marsh has made it clear that she wishes to qualify for the English Schools’ Track and Field Championships for the first time during this season.

The 14-year-old’s target means she must run 800m in a time of 2mins 19secs before ideally winning the Wiltshire Schools’ Junior Girls’ title and follow that up with a solid performance in the South West Schools competition.

With the championships not until May and June, Marsh’s first priority is to get that qualifying time.

And on the evidence of the opening week of the season, reaching her goal is within clear sight.

Coach John Dill said: “Kelly-Marie opened up with 2mins 20.16secs to win her 800m at the Bracknell Young Athletes meeting, which was a massive personal best by four seconds.

“She then followed it up on Sunday with 2:21.0 in the Wessex League match, which was a solid effort in what proved to be a more low-key, solo run compared to Bracknell where she had a real battle with two other girls.

“She is in sparkling form and 2mins 19secs is the target, though it doesn’t mean automatic selection for the English Schools’ Championships.

“But that is her dream.”

The Swindon Harriers’ hope has had a busy winter season turning out for the club in the Oxford Cross Country League, racing the Swindon parkrun and qualifying to represent Wiltshire at the English Schools’ Championships for the first time after finishing fifth in the county qualifying event.

“Kelly-Marie does cross country under duress but qualifying for the national schools’ gave her a real lift,” added Dill.

“She finished in the two hundreds (263rd in the juniors age group) but at least she was there, and she really is a track runner first and foremost.

“But I tell her it will do her good for the summer track season.

“If it helps her qualify for the track finals in Birmingham for the first time then it will certainly have been worth it.”