Hawick runner Dianne Lauder is used to pounding the streets in her day job as a police officer, but she will have to pick up the pace this summer.
For the 36-year-old middle-distance specialist is the only Borders-based officer to be selected for the elite specialist team of police runners who will escort the Queen’s Baton Relay around Scotland ahead of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games.
The Queen’s Baton, the Commonwealth Games equivalent of the Olympic Torch, will pass through the Borders on June 18.
Dianne has only been running since her days at the Scottish Police College; up until then preferring to pursue hockey as her main sporting interest.
Now a member of Gala Harriers, she has notched some notable successes, including representing Scotland three times, winning the Edinburgh half-marathon twice and numerous 10K, cross-country and police races.
Police Scotland’s locality integration officer for the Cheviot area, Dianne got the chance to join the police squad for the baton via an internal force advertisement.
“You had to note your interest and more than 800 people put their names forward – so interest was very high,” Dianne told us this week.
“There was a paper-based selection process, followed by a fitness test, and you also had to be supported by your local police area command team.”
Dianne is hoping to be escorting the baton through the Borders, although that is not guaranteed: “We’ll be running alongside the baton in groups of between four and six officers for 12-hour shifts, ensuring the baton-bearer has a great experience.
“It’s exactly the same set-up as with the Olympic torch and we’ve had advice from the Metropolitan Police, based on their experience of London 2012.
“We’ll also be involved in support work and community celebrations as well.”
Unsurprisingly, Dianne is not worried about the fitness needed: “The speed won’t be a problem for me, or fitness, so training is more about getting the pace right and working as a team to ensure the baton passes through the communities safely.”
And Dianne says it will be a fantastic experience for all the officers taking part.
“It will be a privilege to be part of the Commonwealth Games in some shape or form and a unique experience that we’ll never get again.”