Bury’s teenage middle-distance runner secures third place in first full international athletics competition

Bury AC’s Anna Gisbourne represented England for the 800-metre race at the International Flanders Athletics Meeting (IFAM) indoor meeting in Gent, Belgium.

The 16-year-old finished third in her heat against experienced competitors, the youngest of which was still almost eight-years her senior.

Anna achieved a spectacular time of 2:09:23, which was the 19th fastest time across all the runners of the 800 metres programme.

Bury Athletic Club chairman, Mark Granby, was beyond proud and impressed and with Anna’s progress.

He said: “There’s not many that break through to the international scene.

“For someone whose still 16 to get that opportunity is absolutely fantastic.

“We were really surprised she’s made the senior breakthrough as quickly as she has. We thought we might be talking about 2025/6 rather than 2024.”

Anna leading in Sheffield

The Bury College student had shown consistent brilliance since winning silver on her international debut last July.

The youngster continued to impress, becoming the national champion after winning the England Athletics U17 Women’s 800m at the end of August 2023.

Anna strode into 2024 with a win in the BMC Sheffield Indoor Grand Prix.

With a time of 2:09:79, she all but secured her chances of representing England in Belgium, despite her age.

“There was still an element looking at the criteria that this (IFAM) is for senior athletes”, Mr Granby recalled.

“Anna is 16, she’s won this race where (the selection panel) said the winner will be selected, but you still wonder whether they will change their mind and go for someone older.

“The fact the selection panel have had that faith in her is great news”.

Anna continues to make Bury and Greater Manchester proud through athletics, and this year her sights will be on representing England again at the National U20 Championships.

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