Invicta East Kent’s Charlotte Henrich is European U18 Champion!!!
Despite being only 15 years of age and currently in the U17 age group (who typically run 300m only)
Charlotte Henrich of Invicta East Kent AC ran her very first 400 metres in June quickly followed by a
superb 400m race a week later at the Bedford Sprints Invitational race finishing second in a time of
54.54 gaining her selection for the European U18 Championships in Jerusalem last week.
Athletes had extreme heat to contend with in Jerusalem and it was a very new experience for
Charlotte at her first ever international competition. However, on Monday 4th July, she made her
mark with an exceptional win in her heat in 54.19. She then took on the favourite (and fastest U18 in
Europe this year) Lurdes Gloria Manuel in her semi-final, finishing just behind Manuel with another
personal best in 53.81.
Coaches, athletes and family members across the Canterbury-based club tuned in at home just after
5pm on Wednesday 6th July to watch the eagerly-anticipated final. Nerves were high, her third
400m in 3 days would be a real test for Charlotte but she really did not disappoint. She kept her cool
and with a maturity far beyond her years ran a tactically perfect race. Coming into the final 100m, it
was anyone’s race but hotly tipped favourite Manuel went to pull away. Charlotte was quick to
respond with sheer determination and grit powered through the last 50 metres to dip over the line
ahead of Manuel to become the new European Champion in ANOTHER new personal best of 53.54.
Charlotte’s time now puts her 3rd fastest British U17 of all time (beaten only by Linsey MacDonald
and Loreen Hall who achieved their results in the 80s) and 19th fastest 400m woman in the UK,
against a leaderboard or Olympians and athletes much older and more experienced than her.
Charlotte is coached by Carlo Monticolombi who has been with Invicta East Kent AC for over 20
years and has coached many successful athletes during this time including another 400m runner
Louise Evans, who previously competed at the European U20 Championships, bringing home
4x400m gold as well as Korede Awe (currently ranked 20th in the 100m). Carlo’s training group
features many other up and coming athletes.
Both Carlo and Claire Battersby, another of Charlotte's coaches, said ‘We are so unbelievably proud
of Charlotte’s achievements, especially this week. She is very new to 400m racing and she has really
taken it in her stride. It’s her first international competition and she was nervous going into it and we
were all just so delighted she had been selected. She showed such confidence and impressed us how
she responded to the pressure at such a high level throughout the competition – showing a real
maturity way beyond her years. She has an amazing attitude to training, running, and life, she is a joy
to be around, and lets nothing phase her. We will be re-watching that final for many years to come –
it was absolutely outstanding. The support of her training partners has been exceptional and she
really is an inspiration to them all. We can’t wait to welcome Charlotte back to the track to celebrate
with her in person!’