A RUNNER who missed out on an England place due to injury last year is preparing to represent her country for the first time.

Matfen’s Jeannie Brady initially earned England selection last summer, but a calf problem kept her on the sidelines.

However, the disappointment made the Tynedale Harrier all the more determined, and now a fully fit Jeannie is preparing to run for England against the Celtic nations in two events this year, in the V45 category.

The software engineer will line-up at the Fleet Half Marathon, in Hampshire, on March 15, and also at the York Marathon, on October 18.

“I have been fully fit for six months now,” said the mum-of-four. “To be selected for England again is a tremendous honour and I really want to maintain my fitness and represent my country in these huge events.”

Jeannie was taking part in last year’s Jelly Tea Race at Ovingham when she strained her calf, but insists the disappointment proved to be an important learning curve.

“I am very cautious about my running now,” she said. “If my calf or hamstring feels a bit tight, I’ll not take the risk. I have also been really focused on gym work, strength and conditioning, and having dedicated rest days.

“I don’t waste my legs. Every training run that I do now has a specific target and a purpose.”

Jeannie only took up running three years ago, after her youngest child reached reception age at school. She quickly made the transition from social runner to national competitor.

She explained: “I won’t get to the Olympics, but competing in the V45, or 45-50 age group enables me to test myself against the fastest people in my age group.”

Jeannie’s progress in the sport is highlighted in her results. In Janaury 2019, she ran a time of 1.29.17 at the Hull Half Marathon.

Twelve months later, the determined Jeannie completed the same event in 1.24.24 - five minutes quicker.