It is beginning to feel like the sky’s the limit for Laura Weightman in what is fast becoming her breakthrough season.
The Northumberland-born athlete became British champion in Birmingham on Saturday night – the latest highlight in a season which has seen her record her quickest 1500 metre time in May and confirmed in the England squad for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
It also exorcised the demons of last season’s nightmare final, when she lost the lead in the late stages and injured herself – effectively ruining her entire season.
This time around she pipped Laura Muir and Hannah England in a keenly contested final to win the title in 4:09.77, qualifying for the European Championships in Zurich in August.
It confirmed the growing feeling she can approach both championships with realistic aspirations of being among the contenders for a medal.
Weightman said: “I am really, really pleased with the race and it’s fantastic to go back and achieve this after what happened last season when my season was ruined.
“It’s a very strong field in the Great Britain championships with Laura Muir and Hannah England, who have both run quickly this year.
“Going into that last lap I was just trying to pick it up. Going through that home strait I was just pleased to be able to hold Laura off.
“The standard of the British Championships now makes it a very hard race and it’s excellent preparation for me for the Europeans and Commonwealths.”
This season has seen a steep improvement from Weightman, who rose to prominence in 2012 by winning the British title and qualifying for the Olympic final.
Then she was just pleased to be competing at such a high level – now she looks like an athlete who belongs and can aspire to higher deeds.
She has run well all season and is beginning to illustrate the benefits of a tough winter programme.
The Steve Cram-trained runner added: “I think this is a natural progression.
“I have been training hard all winters and working on areas where I needed to improve.
“I’m just 22 so little things help and I think I am getting physically stronger too.
“Going back to 2012 it was my first really good winter but every year I have been getting stronger and stronger and I have a better base to work from.
“Being involved in competitive races like Saturday are a huge advantage as well.
“It gives me more experience and something else to learn from.”
Weightman now heads to Glasgow next month and Zurich in August with the wind in her sails.
In some events, the Commonwealths and European Championships represent a second-tier challenge but in the 1500metres the best in the world are eligible to compete, which makes it a great deal harder for the Lesbury runner to make her mark.
Although Jenny Simpson of the US won’t be up against her in either championship, the world leader Abeba Aregawi is Swedish and there is a crop of excellent Ethiopian athletes among the world’s best.
Even so, it is a measure of Weightman’s burgeoning confidence she is beginning to talk of medals.
She said: “I have taken big steps forward in terms of my experience and condition and I’m starting to step up to that next level where I can be competitive, both at the Commonwealths and at the Europeans.
“It won’t be easy because I could be running against some of the best in the world but I feel I am in good shape and can be competitive.”