Morpeth Harriers star Ross Charlton is keeping busy
Morpeth Harrier Ross Charlton shared the experience of his first term at Bath University recently, having embarked on the prestigious Modern Pentathlon course in September.
A member of the Harriers and Morpeth Amateur Swimming Association from an early age, Ross was guided in his early years by the late Tony Ward and veteran coach Mike Bateman.
A mainstay of cross country and relay teams as he climbed the ranks, Ross led home a Morpeth team that won the Northern Cross Country title in 2019 and was first finisher for the club at the National Cross Country Championships in 2020.
Despite difficulties caused by Covid, last September he posted 8 minutes 38 seconds for 3000 metres, putting him in the top 20 nationally for Under-20s at the age of only 18.
His interest in Modern Pentathlon stemmed from a biathlon (swim and run) in Hexham in 2015, after which he was invited to compete at a national event in London. Newcastle Fencing and Shooting Club invited him to trial sessions which he found he enjoyed, and his involvement in the sport grew.
In his first Tetrathlon (swimming, running, fencing and shooting, but no show jumping) he found himself well down the field initially, but having made his way rapidly up the table in the laser run, realised he had the potential to improve.
This was shown in 2019 when he won a LaserRun World Championship U19 gold in Budapest.
Having secured a place for himself at Bath University, a national centre for excellence in Modern Pentathlon and Winter Sports he has applied himself purposefully to an often gruelling training regime.
Taking place over one hectic day, a 200m swim is followed by show jumping and a one hit fencing competition. In 2012, the shooting and running disciplines were combined into one final Laser Run, where the goal is to hit five targets with a laser pistol, this followed by an 800m run, the process executed four times in all.
"Points are awarded in the first three events which then translate into a handicap for the laser run,” Ross explains.
“You could be an ace swimmer and fencer, but still get caught by a fast runner with a good shot.
"There’s no getting away from it, it’s a lot of hard work.
"Fortunately for me though, I love all the disciplines so it’s a labour of love.”