Bedford’s Kate Axford wins gold on Team England debut

Kate Axford winning gold for Team England in Loughborough in May 2023
Image: Ed Hall MacroPro Photography

The new athletics season has brought major success for Bedford’s Kate Axford who continued her winning streak with victory in the 3000m at the Paula Radcliffe Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Having already gained a gold medal in the Belgrave Harriers Comeback 5000m event, Axford powered away from a strong 3000m field on Sunday to secure gold on her England debut in Loughborough.

Following her completion of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma in 2017 at Bedford Girls’ School, Kate went on to forge the beginnings of a successful hockey career before injury hampered her progress.

Instant success on the international stage

As part of Team GB and the England professional hockey pathway, Kate won European bronze in Valencia before joining the GB Elite Development programme.

However, she decided to transition to athletics and remarkably has been selected to represent Team England in her first season.

With Kaur Milan Bains and the much-fancied Innes Fitzgerald for company, Axford was able to get alongside the pair in the final lap before passing them on the back straight and refused to let them pass as she raced home for gold in a time of 09:06:02.

Kate Axford wins 5000m for Belgravia Harriers in March 2023
Image Credit: Jerry Sun / Belgrave Harriers

Speaking after the race, Kate said, “I knew that there were some really strong shorter distance runners in there, so I knew they’d have a kick left in them at the end. I managed to save something for that last lap, but it wasn’t easy.”

This performance, along with the 15:49.79 she set in the Belgrave 5000m, Axford’s return to the athletics arena has caught the eye of many onlookers who admit her pace is “frightening”.

From 17:24 in January down to 16:39 in March, the 15:49 in the Belgrave represents stunning progress for the former Bedford Girls School student who will surely be eyeing the upcoming Summer season with relish.

Wheelchair racing open day on Sunday

The upcoming athletics season is looking to be a bumper one for a lot of Bedford athletes with names across the disciplines aiming for more success at the Bedford International Athletics Stadium and beyond.

The success of Bedford’s wheelchair racing team is growing, and the team are celebrating four years of success with an open day on Sunday 28th May from 11:00 at Bedford International Athletics Stadium.

Bedford wheelchair racing manager, Howard Darbon said, “We want to thank all those individuals and organisations who have supported the club over the years.”

“We want to demonstrate the achievements of our young members and we’re also in a position to expand our membership with qualified coaches eager to help train the next generation.”

There is no entry fee to the open day on Sunday, with anyone welcome to attend whether you want to get involved as a participant or help in a voluntary capacity.