SEAN MOLLOY is ready to mix it with the big boys this weekend as he takes part in the European Indoor trials at Sheffield.
It will be the 17-year-old Tonbridge 800m runner's first senior national championships and he is not daunted by the prospect of racing alongside the likes of Olympic finalist Andrew Osagie.
"I'm so excited to have this opportunity to go up against the best athletes in Britain at such a young age," he said. "It's a whole different ball game, so I haven't got any expectations going into the race. I would love to make the final, but it's going to be extremely difficult. To come out of the trials knowing I gave it my best shot would be satisfying for me."
Molloy, the all-time U17 800m record holder, has been unbeaten indoors so far this winter. On Saturday he won the Birmingham Games - beating senior men in the process - battling through his heat in one minute 52.61, before easing to victory in the final in 1:54.40.
"I know there is more in the locker, which is good," Molloy said. "It's fun (racing against seniors) in the fact it's a different experience. I need to be more alert as I know one mistake will cost me the race. I'm pleased to have the ability to beat them so early on in the season."
Racing indoors isn't new for Molloy, but there has been a greater focus on it this year, mainly, he says, to keep him motivated through the winter.
While he enjoys racing in team cross-country events, such as the relays and national school championships, the week to week slog of running in the mud isn't for him.
"When I'm racing for myself it doesn't interest me one bit as I feel like I'm not racing for anything," Molloy, who praised the support his sponsors Ecolution have given him, said. "Training has been good as well. Mark (Hookway) and Pete (Mason) have really helped out and been very supportive. They structure training sessions around myself and I've been doing speed sessions with the likes of Luca Russo, Kieran Reilly and Jordan Saul. It's going well at the moment. I'm unbeaten and have already had some tough competition."