nicole kendall

Nicole Kendall hoping to raise the bar this summer

Nicole Kendall is one of the National Athletics League’s most prolific scorers but the 400m hurdles specialist hopes expanding her competition programme to more top-level invitation meetings can inspire her to bigger things this season.

The Thames Valley Harrier, who has so far had six individual and three relay wins in the five matches since the league’s inception 12 months ago, continued her run of success at the opening round in Cardiff last weekend.

Kendall clocked 58.21 for a hard-fought win over Swansea’s Caryl Granville. However, before helping her 4x400m relay team-mates to another win, she said she believes there is more to come, though.

“The first one, you just never know what you’re going to run, you just can’t replicate race day at training,” she said. “I think for me on the back straight I probably opened up my stride too much. I ended up stop-start-stop-start, so maybe for the next one, if I keep my stride a bit shorter and keep the turnover a bit smoother. That’s what to work on for the next one.”

Kendall already has the England Commonwealth qualifier. She is also 0.08 off the Europeans mark with her PB of 55.93 from last year’s NAL campaign in which she set two all-time national league records, beating the old UK Women’s League mark.

It goes without saying that she is a fan of the league, given the huge part she played in TVH’s title win last season. “I really enjoyed it last year, I really enjoyed the team atmosphere. We’re all the way in Cardiff but you can hear when there’s a Thames Valley athlete about to start a race or about to take a jump.”

However, she will also appreciate the chance of facing higher competition outside the league. She did not race abroad last year, although she did run in the Muller Birmingham Diamond League. “That would be really nice,” she said of that prospect. “We’ll just see where the season takes us. Obviously last year it was very difficult to travel abroad so, now everything’s opened up, it should be a bit easier to try races on the European circuit.”