INTERNATIONAL Isle of Wight athlete Henry McLuckie has made an excellent start to his 2023 outdoor track season.

To prepare for a busy summer Henry headed for high altitude training at Flagstaff, Arizona, alongside other GB athletes.

After a three-week spell there, Henry then headed to the Sounds Track Meet in Walnut, just outside of Los Angeles, to run 5,000m, where he competed in a very high quality field.

From the gun, Henry was near the back of the field, despite running 400m laps in 65 and 66 seconds.

Passing 3,000m in 8mins 12secs, Henry looked in control as he began to overtake some of the athletes who started too quickly.

Into the final kilometre, Henry held his form and sprinted to the line for fourth place in 13mins 36.26 secs — a time well inside the GB European selection time (13.50).

The result places Henry in third spot in this year's European U23 ranking list.

Henry’s next challenge was the Great Britain 10,000m Championships, staged at the prestigious Night Of The 10,000 PBs, at Parliament Hill Fields — a series of top races for men and women.

Henry was placed in the A race, which comprised 37 athletes — many of them top East Africans and Europeans, all looking for qualifying times for the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in August.

Henry had to run a controlled race, and was running consistent 68-second laps for the first 5,000m.

This fast, consistent pace over 25 laps, began to take its toll in the final two kilometres — but Henry showed great determination, overtaking athletes, to finish in 28mins 57.18secs.

As with the 5,000m, his time was well inside the U23 European standard — placing him an excellent sixth in the British Championships.

Henry will now focus on high quality races to gain selection for Great Britain in this summer's European U23 Championships in Espoo, Finland.

Henry's Island-based coach, Geoff Watkin, said: "Henry has shown from these two performances  he has outstanding ability to compete in the longer track events, despite winning bronze at the European U20 Championships over the shorter 1,500m event.

"Through physiological testing while part of GB’s Future’s Programme, it is clear Henry’s endurance capacity will help him in a range of running disciplines.

"I’m delighted with the progress we are making."