This weekend, I made the pilgrimage from Manchester to Aberdeen, to officially open the newly refurbished athletics track at the Sports Village. Strangely enough, the first picture I have of me competing on the track – is from Aberdeen! As a young U13 athlete, I was taking part in the Halliburton League (now known as the Petrofac) over the 800m! Dressed in long, boys basketball shorts and a Blink 182 beanie hat, I was clearly dressed for the occasion. Thankfully this time around, I ditched the beanie hat – hey, it’s only taken me 13 years!

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It was lovely to almost come full circle and officially open the brand new stadium. The facilities at the Aberdeen Sports Village are top notch. Catering for a wide range of sports; it’s an athletes dream! I was extremely fortunate to be a part of the occasion – also coinciding with the Scottish Senior Championships. Again it was strange to be back at the Scottish Championships. They are such a vital development stage for any athlete but over the years – i’ve raced less and less in Scotland. Fortunately, Glasgow 2014 gave me that experience and it’s one that will be tough to ever top!

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The championships also included the age-group relays. It’s the purest form of our sport. Children run because they want to. They don’t worry about doping, contracts, funding; they concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, as fast as they can. Over the years, running becomes more complicated. It was brilliant to see how enthusiastic they were – especially over the relay discipline, working together as a team. I loved the contrast between the genders at that age. The girls covered head to toe in multi-coloured sports gear with matching ribbons in their hair- the boys all in dark – probably to hid the mud they’ve been rolling around in!

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It really was inspiring to watch enjoyment; pure enjoyment, over all their faces, all because – they love to run! It reminded me why I do it. Why I spend hours of my life grinding out miles, why I spend days crying over injuries, why I sacrifice seeing my friends and family on a regular basis. These aren’t chores or sacrifices because it’s what makes me stronger; mentally and physically. Running is what I love. I’ve been more than fortunate throughout my career so far; to travel the world, meet some amazing people and push myself to the limits. Nobody can take those memories away from me. I will always be a runner but my journey is only just beginning.

It really was inspiring to watch enjoyment; pure enjoyment, over all their faces, all because – they love to run! It reminded me why I do it. Why I spend hours of my life grinding out miles, why I spend days crying over injuries, why I sacrifice seeing my friends and family on a regular basis. These aren’t chores or sacrifices because it’s what makes me stronger; mentally and physically. Running is what I love. I’ve been more than fortunate throughout my career so far; to travel the world, meet some amazing people and push myself to the limits. Nobody can take those memories away from me. I will always be a runner but my journey is only just beginning.

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