Angie’s recovery the highlight of St Edmundsbury Sport Awards

TRIUMPH OVER ADVERSITY: Angie Underdown (right) picks up her award from Greene Kings Tania Wreathall
TRIUMPH OVER ADVERSITY: Angie Underdown (right) picks up her award from Greene Kings Tania Wreathall
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Despite being told she could never run again, St Edmudsbury Sports Awards winner Angie Underdown has revealed she is targeting a return to elite level athletics.

The 50-year-old’s amazing story was one of the highlights of last Tuesday evening’s 10th St Edmundsbury Sports Awards at The Apex in Bury and saw her claim The Greene King Triumph Over Adversity Award.

A British Masters indoor champion over five distances from 60m to 800m, Underdown, nee Alstrachan, defied medics who said she could never run again after a heart attack in 2012.

After four years of listening to advice to not take any strenuous activity, the Bardwell resident went from struggling to walk up the hill in her village to completing the London to Cambridge 100km as the fastest in her age category by over two hours.

And as well as now volunteering at a new 5k run in Moreton Hall to encourage more women in the ‘anyone can enjoy it and have fun’, Underdown, just back from completing two marathons in two days in Iceland, is working with Haverhill’s Coach of The Year Mick Graham once again.

“I am back with my coach Mick Graham and I would like to think I will aim for the British Indoors, though this year might be a bit too early,” she said.

“I know I would not be able to run a fast 400m ever again, but even if I could run 60m, that would be great.”

Haverhill’s Graham was recognised at the Abbeycroft Leisure-run awards with The Newmarket Motor Company Coach of The Year Award for his work with racewalker Callum Wilkinson, who he guided towards the IAAF World Under-20 Championship title, among others.

Ex-King Edward VI School student Wilkinson, who ended a 52-year wait for a British winner in a major international racewalking event in July, claimed both The Matrix Individual Performance/Achievement of The Year Award and The Greene King Sports Personality of The Year Award, retaining the latter.

The 19-year-old from Moulton was unable to attend the evening due to being away at university in Leeds, but said: “I remember saying last year that the sports personality award would be motivation for success at the world juniors.

“So, it is amazing and honouring to be able to say today that I am World Junior Champion and have been recognised again by these awards.

“I love going to these events and hearing about the local success stories and how sport has both shaped and is shaping lives. I’m really sorry to not be at the awards in person for these very reasons.

“I wish to thank all who have helped me along the way to a memorable 2016 season.”

Wilkinson’s training partner, Red Lodge-based West Suffolk College student and runner Rhys Turnbull-Bester, added to his Forest Heath Sports Awards double last week with another two trophies: The Suffolk Sport Young Sports Personality of The Year Award and The Newmarket Racecourses People’s Youth Champion Award.

Fitness instructor Karen Smith, who teaches at Newmarket Leisure Centre, was voted The Bury Free Press and Haverhill Echo People’s Champion.

Other winners: The Music Sales Club of The Year: Jetts Netball Club; The Unison Unsung Hero Award: Louise Sparks (Howard Comunity Primary School teaching assistant); The Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District Lifetime Achievement Award: Jo Bruton (social golf at Bury); The Sodexo Community Volunteer of The Year Ward: Steve Pretty (Park Run); The Linnet Homes Most Active Workplace Award: Focus12.