Leather pays tribute to her Westbury Harriers coach Michael

SHE may be blazing a trial on the indoor scene in America but Ellie Leather certainly hasn’t forgotten her roots in Bristol.

Leather, who is a member of both Westbury Harriers and Yate & District AC, has made remarkable progress this winter as part of the Cincinnati University team, where she is studying on a sports scholarship.

Queen of the boards: Ellie Leather (left) with her coach Lara Rogers

She has notched up personal bests 2:05.32 for 800m, 4:34.89 for the mile, which is the standard distance raced on the America indoor circuit in contrast to the 1500m in Europe plus 9:30.10 for 3000m.

Indeed, Leather has run the mile five times and has improved seven seconds from her best in 2021 and her new PB, she reckons, equates to a time close to her 1500m best of 4:17 – which would place her in the top 10 of the UK Indoor Rankings this winter.

Obviously, the athletics scene at Cincinnati University has allowed Leather to flourish but she is also quick to pay tribute to those formative years when she joined Westbury Harriers.

“I owe a lot to Jason Michael as my coach at Westbury as he made sure I didn’t over-train as a young runner,” said Leather.

Jason Michael

“That has allowed me, since coming to America, to really thrive in the harder training environment.

“My current coach (Lara Rogers) at the University of Cincinnati has guided me so well and developed me incredibly as a runner and a person.

“I’m very grateful to her as a coach and to be surrounded by so much support here in America. I have worked hard for the last three years in America and I’m so excited that its now starting to show in my racing.

“Mort importantly it’s the belief I have now developed in my abilities and just enjoying the sport.”

It is great to see a youngster, who first competed for Westbury in 2008 in the under 11s age group in the Gwent League and the BMC Cross Country Classic in Ashton Court, still involved in the sport and competing at such a high level.

Certainly all the people who have helped her along the way can take enormous satisfaction and pride from Leather’s success.