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Elaine Bounds Back!!

Report by: Bryan Murray

Press Report - 8th June 2001

Elaine Sutcliffe and son Max
Former international athlete Elaine Sutcliffe made a winning return to the track after taking time out to have a baby.

The Wakefield District Harriers athlete won her comeback in the Northern Womens League 400m race at Grimsby after a two-year lay off. But while the mum-of-one was haring around the track, baby Max was sound asleep in his cot nestling out of the East coast wind

She said: "He's pretty good and he's not much trouble. He woke up ten minutes after I won which was good timing because I got to feed him."

Elaine, 31, has competed against the likes of gold medalist Sally Gunnell and fellow Olympic athlete Donna Fraser. Her career has included running for England and representing Great Britain against Russia and France. She has also raced in Austria and Ireland and did the tough 400m event in 54 seconds but she took a break from international athletics to start a family with husband Paul.

And only months after giving birth to Max she was ready to jump back into her running shoes and onto the blocks. She started training last month at Thornes Park and was gearing up for a return in August, but coach Terry Ridsdale asked if she would step in at the last minute and run the 400 in the Northern Women's League opener in Grimsby in May.

"Terry is hard to say no to," said Elaine. "He is one of those people who you just want to help. I wasn't really ready as it's hard to run the 400 when you are not fit. It's not as enjoyable."

But the athlete, who has been hooked on running since she was nine, could not resist the call. Elaine won her race easily in 64 secs despite pacing herself and the windy conditions.

She is going to build up her fitness and will concentrate on the indoor season during the winter. Elaine aims to break back into the Harrier's national league team where she will face stiffer opposition.

But her next big challenge will be keeping up with Max as he learns to walk and talk. His granddad Dave Wyard is a regular down at the Thornes track, aunt Janet Robinson is an athlete and dad Paul is a discus thrower with the Harriers. "He'll be definitely something sporty," added Elaine.

She has not ruled out a return to international athletics but admits it would be more difficult now with her work and family committments, but she has enjoyed every minute of her career and is looking forward to Max cheering her on when he learns to talk.