THE twin ambitions of Katey Read could one day see her become the fastest midwife in the land. But for the time being the teenage hurdling sensation is concentrating on delivering results, not babies. PETER MORSE reports.
ATHLETICS ace Katey Read is always training.
Whether it be putting in 15 hours a week practising her 60-metre hurdling technique, or spending time at Leighton Hospital learning about midwifery, her dedication shines through.
The 18-year-old, from Wrenbury, near Nantwich, is taking what students call a 'year out'. But her life is anything but an existence of laziness.
Katey recently won 60metre hurdles gold at the Northern Indoor Championships, and has set new personal best times in each of her last three races.
Her driving ambition is one day to represent her country, and she will take part in the senior AAA Championships, at Sheffield, on Sunday.
She currently spends a couple of days a week on work experience at the hospital as a healthcare assistant.
In September, she intends to study hard for a qualification in midwifery while keeping up her training regime and competing at weekends.
Katey, who is a member of the Liverpool Harriers but trains at the Cumberland Arena, said: 'I want to be a midwife one day, but at the moment I am concentrating on reaching the highest possible level I can in athletics.
'I have always trained hard. When I was younger I did gymnastics, but had to stop because of injury. I took up athletics and found I was good at it. Now I train five times a week, on the track and in the gym.
'I must admit I don't particularly enjoy training, but I love competing.
'I know I need to practise to compete at a high level, so that is what I do.
'I have been surprised but pleased at my times recently. There can be occasions when you have a bad day and you wonder why you bother.
'I have thought of giving up. Footballers train all week and then get 90 minutes to perform.
'I get less than nine seconds and a slightly poor start, or clipping a hurdle, can ruin everything.
'But when it goes well it is a great feeling. They say if you have a good race, and it all comes together, you don't really remember it because you are so focussed. I have forgotten a few lately.'
The former Malbank School pupil set a best time of 8.74secs in the U20s Northern Championships, but the following week she raced to 8.69secs in the Northern Championships senior event, netting a silver medal in the final.
The AAAs, at Norwich, will prove a massive challenge for the teenager, but she knows that on her day, she can beat anybody.
She added: 'It can come down to technique. I know I am not the quickest, but people make mistakes. There is a lot that can go wrong.
'There are a lot of good girls but I want, at least, to run a good time and get into the final. That will do for now.'