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Luke's vested interest

PUBLISHED: 11:23 18 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:27 05 July 2010

IN TRAINING: Runner Luke Allen has high hopes of an England call-up.

IN TRAINING: Runner Luke Allen has high hopes of an England call-up.

TALENTED athlete Luke Allen is hoping his efforts off the track will help him to deliver an England vest later this season.

His first cross country race of the year for his City of Norwich club saw him take a fine third place (sixth overall) in the Norfolk County Championships.

TALENTED athlete Luke Allen is hoping his efforts off the track will help him to deliver an England vest later this season.

His first cross country race of the year for his City of Norwich club saw him take a fine third place (sixth overall) in the Norfolk County Championships.

And after having two months off racing due to illness, the talented teen - who regularly trains with friend and Olympic boxing hopeful and celebrity Anthony Ogogo - is gearing up for a tough year ahead.

Shoulder Warren near Downham Market proved to be an excellent venue for the county cross country championships on Sunday. In the junior men's age group Rick Ward had a good run to finish five seconds ahead of Ashley Harrell. With Allen finishing in third place it ensured an easy team win for City of Norwich AC.

“I was pretty pleased with it,” Allen told The Journal.

After winning the Lowestoft Scores Race last year, the former Kirkley High School pupil who now attends East Norfolk College in Gorleston is aiming for the UK Cross Country Championships at Liverpool in November as his yardstick to measuring success.

After finishing 86th in 2006 and 59th in 2007 at these national championships, Allen said: “I'm pretty confident I will be able to get a top ten finish and if I do, it would secure an England vest.”

As well as this competition, there are numerous races ahead in the calendar year, as well as aiming for another medal in the British Colleges Nationals for the region later this year.

Coached by Nigel Jackson, as well as numerous beach and scores runs, training in midweek with City of Norwich AC, and embarking on long runs with Waveney Valley AC on Sunday's the youngster works out on strengthening and weights techniques during the week with Ogogo at the Nirvana Fitness Centre on the south Lowestoft industrial estate.

“Hopefully when Anthony comes out (from the Big Brother house) he will have a bit of time for me to continue our training,” Allen said. “It helps with his boxing and doing these beach runs on the sand dunes is really good for the calves.”

The pair, who were in the same year at school and first met at Kirkley Middle before progressing up to Kirkley High - trained hard for last year's Scores Race, which led to Allen's victory and Ogogo amazingly finishing inside the top ten.

In an effort to improve speed and finishing surges, this year the youngster will also be looking to compete on track in the summer, competing from 800m and 1500m up to 10k on track.

“I'm really looking forward to the year ahead,” Allen said.

The Norfolk Schools cross country championships will be in Earlham Park in Norwich on Wednesday, January 23 and the senior county championships for both men and women will be held at Houghton Hall on February 3.

CROSS COUNTRY RESULTS, SHOULDHAM WARREN

Under-20 Men (5km): 1 Rick Ward (CN) 15.40, 2 Ashley Harrell (CN) 15.45, 3 Luke Allen (CN) 16.18, 4 Jonathan Laybourne (WN) 16.40, 5 Shayne Murray (CN) 16.59, 6 David Howarth (WN) 18.02, 7 Gareth Hunt (Rys) 20.36.

Key: CN (City of Norwich), NRR (Norwich Road Runners), Rys (Ryston), Thet (Thetford), WN (West Norfolk).

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