Sheffield 800m star Tilly Simson targets World Games

Tilly Simpson wins the English U-15 800m championships in Bedford. Photo: Adam Simpson
Tilly Simpson wins the English U-15 800m championships in Bedford. Photo: Adam Simpson

Rising Hallamshire Harriers star Tilly Simpson is unbeaten for two years in top 800metres events.

And she has a young sister Ruby, 10, following hot on her heels.

Cross country champion Ruby Simpson

Cross country champion Ruby Simpson

Tilly won the English Under-15 title at Bedford last weekend, leading from gun to tape and setting a championship record of 2:07.03 in the process. This was close to her own UK record of 2:06.22 .

Tilly is also English Schools, Northern, Derbyshire and Yorkshire 800m champion - all in record times - and the Yorkshire 1500 record holder after the only race she has run at the distance this season.

Father Adam Simpson, a coach at Hallamshire, said: “The 800 is her favoured event but she is a very competent 1500 runner and her time in the Yorkshire championships in May remains the fastest front run for an Under-15 girl this season.”

The 14-year-old trains three times a week at the Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Stadium and is coached by Steve Marshall.

She also does distance running, swimming for stamina, and core work in the gym at home.

It all started for Tilly when she won a schools cross country race with ease in 2012.

Dad Adam said: “I asked her if she fancied competiting in triathlons and training with a running club.

“Her first session was in July 2012 - the Tuesday before Super Saturday in the London Olympics .

“She was at the time swimming competitively with Dronfield Dolphins five or six times a week

“She instantly enjoyed track racing and, guided by her coach Steve, it was evident that she had a talent for it.”

Tilly’s first major competitive race was the northern indoor championships in 2013 where she won a bronze medal racing up an age group in the U15 section.

That was the springboard for a very successful 2013 outdoor track season where she finished UK No 1 at 800m in the U13 age group despite carrying an injury for most of the season.

Sister Ruby, is current Yorkshire Under-11 cross country champion (achieved when she was only nine).

Ruby started runningin October 2012 at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield, before moving to her sister’s group in September 2014.

She is ranked UK No 1 at 600m indoors and No 3 at 600m and 800m outdoor.

Ruby won the South Yorkshire cross country series last year as a first year U11 junior in her first season. She is very strong at cross country and a hill speciakist. She is unbeaten at 600m in 2015 and will now concentrate on 800m as she steps up to the U13 age group.

Her father says: “She trains with a very competitive group of similar aged girls who all work very well off each other and are developing into a very strong group of athletes.”

She also swims for Dronfield Dolphins and trains up to four times a week, as well as dancing.

Tilly names Jessica Ennis-Hill, Beccy Lyne and Kelly Holmes as her heroes while Ruby admires Jessica and Paula Radcliffe.

And what of the future?

Tilly, who entered Year 10 at Eckingon School this week, would love to run for Great Britian and hopes to qualify for the Junior World Championship in Kenya in 2017. She wants to go to university after her A levels and has already been offered sports scholarships at two private schools.

She said: “I would like to become a professional athlete, but I also want to further my education and go to university to get a degree. My goal is to represent Team GB.”

And Ruby is out to keep her big sister on her toes! She said: “I want to beat all Tilly’s records and retain the South Yorkshire cross country title I won last season.