Annasley Park discovers cycling after hip injury shatters her running dreams

Hereford Times: 1405_13001 National cycling champion Annasley Park. Eardisley. (3774089) 1405_13001 National cycling champion Annasley Park. Eardisley. (3774089)

TEENAGER Annasley Park has found success in the saddle after a hip injury shattered her dreams to become a full-time running athlete.

Annasley, from Eardisley, turned her feet to cycling and triumphed in the junior ladies’ National Time Trial Circuit Championships just two months after focusing on the sport.

“I only started racing properly last July and I won the national title in Dorset at the end of August,” said the 17-year-old sports science student at Hereford Sixth Form College.

“I worked through so many in my running injuries, but unfortunately one injury got the better of me and I had to listen to my body. However, cycling has opened up a new dream.”

Annasley picked up her national cycling trophy in a glitzy awards ceremony in Leicester last month and she will be celebrating further sporting success in Hereford next Thursday.

She has been named as the junior female winner in the annual Herefordshire Sports Awards.

Annasley, a former Lady Hawkins’ School pupil, is in second year of an all-female development team at RST Racing Team, who are based in Yorkshire.

Annasley started running at the age of nine years and has competed in duathlons with her brother, Rhys, who is now studying and racing at Boise State University in the USA.

She started at Hereford and County Athletics Club before progressing to the Bristol and West club.

She excelled at cross-country and also impressed on the track in 800m, 1500m and 3,000m.

She qualified for the English schools’ national races.

“I wanted to go to university in the USA to further my running, but when my running came to end, it was a huge disappointment. My brother is doing it for me now.

“I haven’t had too much experience in the cycling and I started doing it when I was taking a break from my running,” she said.

“My best sporting moment so far has been when I won the National Time Trial Circuit Champs.

“I didn’t feel too good on the day, but I think it was just nerves. But once I set off I was in the zone and I just kept looking at my next target to take over.

“The weather was amazing and I loved the atmosphere.”

She clinched the the National TCC Junior Ladies Circuit title in blustery conditions in Dorset after clocking up a winning time of 52 minutes.

“We had a head wind, it was a triangle course, you’ve got to go as fast as you can and I got a three-minute lead,” she recalled.

She now hopes to defend her 22-mile crown in September, enter a 10-mile event in August and a mixed adult and junior 25 mile event the same month.

She won the annual 22-mile event racing for the Abergavenny Road Racing Club but now competes for Hereford-based NFTO team.

Annasley’s racing season begins next month and she wants to compete in races in Belgium and Holland to help her get closer to her dream of making it to international event.

“My goal is to get better and have some experience with some sharp elbows,” said Annasley, who is on the elite sporting programme at Hereford Sixth Form College.

“I would like to do the road race, but track racing gives you a lot more opportunities.”

Annasley thankeda all those who have supported her.

"John Wood and the boys at NFTO and The Shed have always been there for me from fixing my bikes to giving me advice.

"My boyfriend has given up his weekends to take me racing and is there for when I need a bit of a break.

"My mum and dad have given me endless support and I wouldn’t be where I am now without their help."

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