LOCAL running star Hannah Taunton has earned herself a place on the Great Britain team at the World Para Athletics Championships, following a summer of personal best performances on the track.

The 28-year-old travels to Dubai in November and will compete for Great Britain over 1500 metres.

She has a personal best of 4 minutes 39.36 seconds, which currently ranks her third in the world rankings in the T20 category, which is for athletes with an intellectual impairment.

Taunton is well known on the local running scene having been a long-term member of her first claim club Taunton AC since she first joined aged 12.

She has also been a winner of the local Taunton 10k and Half Marathon, is a second claim member of Running Forever Running Club, and a regular on the local parkrun scene.

Taunton’s running talents were first spotted by former head of PE at Castle School, Barry Jones, who signposted her to the local athletics club, demonstrating the important role teachers play in making those links with clubs.

It was at Taunton AC where she first met her long-term coach, Charlotte Fisher.

Fisher said: “I have worked with Hannah as a volunteer coach on and off for 16 years.

“Three years ago, we made the mutual commitment to work towards the goal of Hannah earning herself a Great Britain vest.

“I am absolutely thrilled for Hannah, who has really stepped up to the challenge of training and competing on the track.

“She has shown great resilience and commitment and has backed this up with some superb performances and a series of personal bests over the last 12 months.

“It is fantastic to see her achievements recognised with her first international vest.”

Last weekend, Taunton represented TAC at the Midland Road Relays, where a strong quartet of female club members secured the bronze medal, in a very competitive field (see page 112).

Following on from this, Taunton will concentrate on preparing for the Para World Championships.

Taunton’s success and pride will be shared by many current and former members of the club who have also been involved in her development over the years and her achievement is testament to the club’s coaching philosophy and expertise around long term athlete development.

Coaches Keith Paul and Sharron Kington have also played a key role in supporting her in recent years, as have many of her training partners at the club and the wider running community.

The World Para Athletics Championships takes place in Dubai from November 7-15.

TAUNTON is not able to enter this Sunday's Taunton 10k (11am start from Blackbrook Pavilion) due to her training programme, but will be out to support her mum Gill and brother Ben, who are running the event.