Teenager Phoebe Gill has just thrust herself firmly into Paris 2024 Olympic contention - after smashing a 45-year-old European record.

The St Albans Athletics Club runner clocked one minute 57.86 seconds to comfortably win the 800m at the Belfast Irish Millers Meet in Northern Ireland

That was just the tip of the iceberg though with the time not only almost four seconds quicker than her PB, but nearly two seconds quicker than the previous European U18 record of 1:59.65, set by East Germany's Marion Geissler-Hubner back in 1979.

It also moves 17-year-old Gill, a pupil at Harpenden St George's, to second in this year's world 800m rankings, with only Ethiopia's Tsige Duguma (1:57.73) having run faster in 2024.

Speaking to the BBC, Gill said: "I'm in shock. I was so terrified before the race because I got my timings mixed up. I thought I had more time than I actually did.

"I had so much adrenaline on the line that I just went for it when it started, I was really pumped up.

"When I did the first 400 in 56 seconds, I thought I'd overdone it.

"I got worried that in the last 150 I would get lactic build-up and just die but I just kept pushing to the end and I hadn't even realised the time until I looked at the clock."

And the merest fact that suddenly the Paris showdown is even being mentioned, has the already flabbergasted Gill in even more shock.

"It definitely wasn't in my thoughts," she said in disbelief, "it's crazy to think about.

"I'd never even thought about it but now that I've [achieved the qualification time], it's absolutely crazy. It's every athlete's dream to do the Olympics."

Herts Advertiser: Keeley Hodgkinson is the only GB athlete to have run quicker as an U20. Picture: MARTIN RICKETT/PAKeeley Hodgkinson is the only GB athlete to have run quicker as an U20. Picture: MARTIN RICKETT/PA (Image: Martin Rickett/PA)

It all means that the British qualifiers will take on huge meaning for her, and it puts her head to head with the likes of Jemma Reekie and Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Keeley Hodgkinson, the only British athlete to have ever run quicker as an U20.

That is an honour in itself to Gill.

"It's so exciting," she said. "I've looked up to the these people for ages, they are such big icons and such inspirations.

"It'll be a dream to run against them and it's crazy to think that could happen at the British champs."

The championships and qualifying for Paris takes place in Manchester at the end of next month.

St Albans Striders meanwhile were tackling a variety of events in the sunny conditions over the weekend.

Freya Weddell won the 5,000m event at the Hertfordshire Track & Field Championships in Watford, clocking a PB of 18:47.

Jenny and Errol Maginley finished first female and second male at the Black to the Trails 10k race on Dunstable Downs with 46:30 and 42:23.

Andrew Maher and Johanna Houlahan chose to go the extra mile at the Shires & Spires event in Naseby, Northampton, which offered a variety of distances.

Maher ran 35 miles in 7:11 and Houlahan 27 miles in 6:08.

Pushing the boundaries even further Christian Kurek completed the Ultra Trail Snowdonia 100k, finishing in 136th place out of 715 starters in 22:25.

He climbed 6,400m while Eleanor Lambert opted for the 50k run at the same event, clocking 10:55 to finish 37th female overall.

Jonathan White was 11th at the Redbourn fun run 5k in 21:13 while Sue Edwards completed the Stevenage Phoenix 5 mile in 53:45.