Teenager selected for national athletics talent programme

Benedict Simpson-Alexander.

Teenager Benedict Simpson-Alexander has been selected for the England Athletics youth talent programme.

The 16-year-old year 12 student, who joined Richmond Sixth Form College after relocating from the South of England, trains and competes for Richmond and Zetland Harriers.

Benedict came third in the recent NYSAA Cross Country Championships which automatically qualifies him for the English Schools’ National Championships in March.

In addition, he will be competing in the UK CAU Inter-counties championships in March

Benedict’s success with the England Talent Programme means he will be competing nationally over the coming year, including races in London and Cardiff.

In addition, Benedict travels to Leeds Beckett University for talent programme training each month.

Benedict only started running after watching the 2021 Olympic Games and being inspired by the track events.

In recent months, he has won two cross country events – the Richmondshire Schools’ Cross Country in December and the North Yorkshire and South Durham (NYSD) League Cross Country meet at Fox Rush, Redcar in November.

He also raced at the National Cross Challenge at Sefton Park, Liverpool, in November where he was placed 34th overall, and was the 22nd English U17M runner.

As well as dedicating a huge amount of his free time to his own training, Benedict also devotes time each week to support younger athletes by assisting with the school’s running club.

Benedict said: “I am really looking forward to representing Yorkshire at the English School’s National Championships in March and will be focusing very intently on my training in the run-up to the event.

“Over the coming months, I have a number of competitions across the UK and I am most thankful to Richmond School Trustees for their support.”

Jenna Potter, Richmond School headteacher, added: “This is an amazing achievement for Benedict.

“He shows such determination and passion for his sport and has been rewarded at the highest level.

“It is also wonderful that he is offering so much support to our younger students by encouraging and supporting our younger students at the School’s running club.

“Although Benedict has only been with us for five months he has already made a massive impression and we can’t wait to see his progress both in sport and academically over the coming year.”