A YOUNG runner has placed third in the country for the fastest mile for his age group.

Raphael Kelly, 12, won this year's Mini Mile competition as part of the Brighton Marathon events.

He was forced to wait two years due to the pandemic for the chance to win but did so with a personal best of five minutes and 15 seconds, placing him as the third fastest miler in the UK for his age group.

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Raphael, who is Sussex Under -13 800m champion, said: "I first ran the Mini Mile when I was seven years old and came 13th. I liked it so much I joined a club and have trained three times a week in the hope of one day winning the race.

"Because of Covid, I've had to wait until now to give it my best shot and I am so happy to finally win."

The Argus: Under 13 Brighton and Hove AC runner, Raphael Kelly won the Brighton Marathon Mini Mile this year.

The Mini Mile took place in Preston Park on September 12. Girls and boys raced in different heats under professional conditions with microchipped numbers, cycle outriders, full barriers and a video interview at the end for the top three in each race.

Raphael, from Withdean, is in Year 8 at Cardinal Newman School in Hove. The school has a strong sporting culture, having taught former Olympian Charlie Grice, whose school record for the U13 800m Raphael beat this summer, setting a Sussex Championship record of 2.16.47.

The Argus: Under 13 Brighton and Hove AC runner, Raphael Kelly won the Brighton Marathon Mini Mile this year.

He first joined Brighton and Hove Athletics Club (BHAC) when he was ten years old

His father Jem said: "We were inspired to take Raphael running when we heard loud cheering from the stadium whilst sitting in our garden one summer’s day.

"Thanks to training three times a week, which he loves, with BHAC, he has developed speed and stamina."

Rafael has just competed in his last race at K2 Crawley, winning the 800m in a time of 2.16.67, just short of his PB. On Saturday he will compete in his first cross country race of the season, a 3km relay race around the race course at Goodwood.

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