Knowles-Jones races into new year with GB senior debut

Harriet Knowles-Jones battles with Phoebe Law in Edinburgh

Runner and current TASS athlete Harriet Knowles-Jones is looking ahead to an exciting 2018 after making her senior cross country debut for Great Britain this month.

The 19-year-old came home 10th in the women’s race at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country, marking her successful transition into senior competition.

Knowles-Jones was joined by GB teammate Emelia Gorecka who took the silver medal in the international event and is former TASS recipient.

“Edinburgh is one of my favourite courses, and I knew a lot of the women on the team so it was an amazing weekend,” said the talented teen.

“It is the same place I made my junior GB cross country debut, so running on a familiar course makes the experience a bit easier.”

Fresh from being named European Athletics’ athlete of the month, Knowles-Jones is also riding high from her U20 women’s gold at the European Cross Country Championships in December.

“My win in Slovakia was undoubtedly the highlight of 2017,” she reveals. “It was my last year in the junior age group for Europeans, I had medalled but never won in the past so I was very determined to win this year.”

Inspired by her parents who were both world-class athletes, the Warrington Athletics Club runner is able to tap into a wealth of experience to support her through the step up to senior level.

“The biggest challenge has been the increased distance because up until now I have been training for junior races at 4 or 5km. But I’ve loved racing as a senior so far because there has been a lot less pressure on me.

“This year I’m mainly focusing on 1500m for the track season but I also look forward to trying my first 5km on track this year.”

But the conscientious undergraduate student also has her sights set on a degree in Mechanical Engineering at University of Manchester.

“I love running and I hope I can continue to run after I am finished competing but with injury and illness, sport can be unpredictable. I need to have something else that I enjoy in case I can’t make it to the level of running I want to.

“Maths has always been my favourite and strongest subject at school, and I enjoy the practical, real life applications of engineering. I was determined to come to Manchester because it allows me to continue to train with my coach and live at home.”

Luckily, Knowles-Jones is now helped with balancing her ‘dual career’, thanks to the extra support available at TASS Delivery Site, University of Manchester.

By having access to specialist services including strength and conditioning, lifestyle support and physiotherapy, the talented student athlete is already seeing the benefits.

“The support has been amazing. Everyone is so helpful and made it that bit easier to balance both academics and sport especially round the time of major competitions.

“One of my main focuses this year will be to introduce more S&C and I’m really excited to start work with the coaches, Nathan and Jaimie. Improving my strength is the plan to bridge the gap between junior and senior level.”