APPLETON middle-distance runner Ashley Nemits reaped the rewards of a patient eighteen months as she won gold at the Northern Athletics Indoor Championships in Sheffield.

The 17-year-old, who studies at Warrington Vale Royal College, was triumphant in the women’s 400m under 20s event in what was her first competitive race since May 2021.

The ex-Warrington Athletics Club runner, who now trains at Wigan Harriers under coach Trevor Painter, had an injury-plagued 2021 season which makes her success even more remarkable.

Ashley’s mum Joanne believes the victory is a testament to the endless hours of hard work away from the track.

“Obviously with that year of lockdown, Ashley had no way of training apart from using the roads or our garden – she didn’t even have access to a gym,” she said.

“She has also just come back from a year of injury.

“It was called plantar fasciitis, which was a bad injury to her foot but touch wood, it finally seems to have settled down a bit.

“So to come back in her first race in a long time and to win it, she was absolutely made up!”

After recording a time of 57.68secs – just outside her personal best of 56.96secs set in 2019 – Joanne believes that her daughter’s times will only get quicker under Painter’s guidance.

“She won the race comfortably and wasn’t far off her PB so we’ve got high hopes there will be a new PB this season,” she said.

“After Trevor Painter saw her run a few years ago, he snapped her up and she’s gone from running cross country to 800m and now to 400m with him as coach.

“She was Northern and National champion two years ago, so he’s really done well with her and she’s come on leaps and bounds.”