ABBY Hughes shaved 30 seconds off her personal best time when she represented Taunton Athletic Club at the Cecil Gittins Memorial Walks in Gravesend, Kent, on Saturday, writes Richard Walsh.

The 15-year-old, who attends King’s College, was competing in the first open road race event in England since the lockdown, which included events over 2.5k, 10k and 15k, as well as her chosen distance of 5k.

Hughes was up against stiff opposition in the race, including the male 5k walk silver medalist from the recent British Championships, and two former Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championships competitors.

Hughes was one of seven competing in the female 5k race, the course comprising two 2.5k laps.

With it being exceptionally hilly, it was one of the harder race walk circuits she has competed on.

The Taunton AC youngster walked really well, winning her race in 25 minutes and 25 seconds to take half a minute off her previous personal best.

Not only did she record a new PB for herself, Hughes also set a new course record - the previous being 26 minutes 26 seconds, set in 2016 by Olympian and Commonwealth Games winner Lisa Kehler.

Hughes (pictured) is now ranked the first Under-17 female and second overall female for the 5k walk this year in the UK.

Steve Shaw, who coaches the young walker at both Taunton AC and King’s, said: “Abby has continued to work hard after the British Championships, and her achievement this weekend is one that is down to her commitment.

“Abby’s goal is continuing to push her time down while she also continues to train with her cross country.”

Hughes is scheduled to walk again at Stourport on Sunday.