BRADFORD on Avon’s former English Schools’ medallist Alex Carter is hoping that 2018 will see a turnaround in his fortunes, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The Wiltshire runner, from the village of Winsley, has just graduated from Iona University, New York after completing a four-year sports scholarship which he earned for his running exploits in the UK.

But an unfortunate series of injuries meant Carter was never able to show his best form, let alone make the progress that was expected. Indeed, Carter was restricted to just nine cross-country races in three seasons for Iona and eight decent track competitions, all of which came in his first year in 2015.

"The injury issues I have had in the past four years have been very difficult to stay on top of, both mentally and physically,” said Carter, who was a student at St Laurence School, Bradford on Avon.

“This cross-country season was the first time that I have been able to run for longer than a few months, while not being in any pain.

“I definitely still have issues with over-compensating, but this is just something that I know I will have to work on and try to limit as much as possible.

“Although I don’t think my results this season were anywhere near my potential, I am very happy that I can finally run without feeling pain in my feet.”

During his four years in America, Carter has undergone two operations, one on each foot, which have meant long and frustrating spells on the sidelines for the Team Bath AC runner.

But far from feeling sorry for himself, Carter immersed himself in college life and says he has no regrets whatsoever at accepting the scholarship option.

“To sum up my time here, I couldn’t ask for a better experience, and although I have been through two surgeries and been unable to compete for long periods of time, I have met so many people and made such long lasting friendships that I am really grateful for,” added Carter.

“It has definitely been very tough at times, when thinking back to when I was running before the two navicular stress fractures occurred, for example running 14mins 39secs for the 5k aged 17 and consistently finishing highly at a national level in cross-country.

“However, I have put everything into trying to stay strong and fit throughout these tough times, and even though it sometimes feels like I have disappointed my coaches, I believe that I have just been extremely unfortunate.

“Having said all that, things are looking positive for the future. I will definitely be continuing running, and hope to stay injury free.

“I think that I still have the ability to perform at a high level, but need to get a good period of training in. I love the team aspect of college and think that the training is great, but maybe a change will be positive for my running and mentality.

“I am looking towards the longer events, but understand that it will be important to move to these gradually. I know that my old club mate Dave Coales wanted to get me up to the marathon distance, and used to make jokes about it when I was younger.

“Maybe this is something that I will look towards in the coming years.”

In the short-term Carter will see further changes in 2018 as he has secured his first job working near Dallas, Texas, which will involve him training there for a year before moving back to the UK, while continuing to work for the business.

He said: “It will definitely be a big change from New York but something that I am excited for.”