A FIFTEEN-year-old runner has qualified for a national cross country championship.

Shafton ALC pupil Hayley Townend will race against more than 300 athletes over 4.5km at the English Schools Cross Country Championship.

She started running less than three years ago and has since found success at local and county level.

Her father, John, said: "She took part in her first race in August 2010, without any training and came second. She hasn't really lost a race since then."

Training six days a week, Hayley said: "It's tough. Some of the trenches can be up to a foot deep in water. It's just blood, mud and guts."

Her school's provided much-needed funding for Hayley's bid to win the championship.

"They've paid for her entry fees, insurance, even her tracksuit. We can't thank them enough,'' said John.

The championships will be held at Catton Park in Derbyshire on March 16.