WATCH out for Catie (CORRECT) O’Donoghue – that must be the message after the 26-year-old from Lakeside smashed her personal best to win the Swindon 10k, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

Running in the colours of Swindon Shin Splints O’Donoghue surprised even herself as she raced to the best win of her career to date on Sunday with a performance that suggest she is barely scratching the surface of her talent.

“That definitely exceeded my expectations!” said O’Donoghue.

“I thought I could break the PB of 42minutes (42:09) I ran in the Lethbridge 10k in June but certainly not by that much. I had no great plan and all the way through the race I kept expecting the other girls to come by me but it never happened.

“To win in 38mins 53secs is such a surprise and I am delighted.”

By her own admission O’Donoghue’s running career has been pretty low key so far. The former Commonweal School student was first lured into the sport to join her dad in the London Marathon five years ago and they safely negotiated that in 4hrs 24mins but the experience clearly ignited a desire to do more.

“A few weeks after that I was running with my mum and dad plus our dog around Coate Country Park when we saw masses of other runners and they seemed to be having so much fun,” explained O’Donoghue.

“The following week we went over to have a chat and found out they were all members of Swindon Shin Splints . They are such a lush group so I joined them and have never looked back since.”

Steve Goulding was one of the founding members of the Shin Splints – he also organises the Swindon 10k as well as the Rough’n’Tumble – and has advised O’Donoghue ever since she joined the club.

“She wasn’t too serious to start with but definitely showed a bit of potential,” said Goulding.

“She is still relatively new to the sport and will be a new name to a lot of people but I have seen her make such good progress in the past 18 months.

“She is still finding her way but I think we have unearthed a real talent.”

Following Goulding’s recommendation O’Donoghue has recently linked up with Bristol & West AC as she works as a nurse at the Bristol Children’s Hospital and can attend their training sessions on a regular basis.

“I have upped my weekly mileage and I am also doing track sessions with the Bristol & West runners and that has clearly helped me,” added O’Donoghue.

“I am really enjoying it and having so much fun.”

And with the confidence of this victory behind her – the time puts her fifth in the Wiltshire Rankings behind Ruth Barnes, Kate Jacobs, Hannay Claydon and Elidh Bell – don’t be surprised if O’Donoghue produces more shock results in the coming months.

Leading local man was Kevin Smith of Swindon Striders, who placed fourth and second veteran in a time of 35:02 with clubmates John Lewis and Corin Wiltshire just behind in fifth (35:34) and seventh (35:40) respectively.

Francis May was the leading runner from Slinn Allstars in 11th (37:24) while the best placed Swindon Harrier was Simon Jell in 19th (38:13).

Men: 1 Simon Nott 31:30; 2 Michael Milstead (St Mary’s RT) 34:51; 3 Simon Gilbert (Devizes RC, M40) 34:52; 4 Kevin Smith (Swindon Striders, M40) 35:02; 5 John Lewis (SS) 35:34.

Women: 1 Catie O’Donoghue (Swindon Shin Splints) 38:53; 2 Denise Nott CRC, W45) 40:04; 3 Jo Fifield (Stroud, W35) 40:29. 509 finishers