Foursome on track to test stadium

Calum Murray after winning the historic Beltane Sprint.
Calum Murray after winning the historic Beltane Sprint.

FOUR of the region’s young international athletes head to London this weekend to be among the first to compete in the 2012 Olympic Stadium.

Peebles trio Scout Adkin, Faye Nicholson and Sarah McCormack will be joined by Galashiels teenager Callum Murray to compete at the British Universities Athletics Championships.

Olympic stadium athletes Faye Nicholson, Sarah McCormack and Scout Adkin

Olympic stadium athletes Faye Nicholson, Sarah McCormack and Scout Adkin

Rnning from tomorrow to Monday, this is a test athletics event as part of the London Prepares programme ahead of the Games with all the arrangements and procedures being run by the London Organising Committee exactly like the Olympics themselves. More than 50,000 spectator tickets have been sold for the event.

Adkin, 18, who is a first-year physiotherapy student at Robert Gordon’s University, will be first to experience the pre-race rigmarole and the track when she competes in the 5,000m heats tomorrow evening.

She said: “All my training has been geared towards running more than 10k in the hills in the hope of gaining selection for the senior East team for the Inter-Counties Hill Running Championships on May 18, so this is going to be a little too short and flat for me.

“However, it’s an opportunity not to be missed and a relatively fast short race should stand me in good stead for my hill races in the coming weeks.”

On Sunday afternoon, Nicholson, 18, a first-year primary education student at Edinburgh University, makes her long-awaited competition comeback in the long jump following her shoulder dislocation at the end of January when jumping to victory for Scotland in Cardiff in the Celtic Cup.

“It’s going to be a bit scary having my first competition back in the Olympic Stadium in front of so many people,” she said.

“I’m not 100 per cent yet, but it will be great to get back jumping again.”

McCormack, 25, is in the midst of a three-year PHD at Lancaster University, but based at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology at The Bush near Penicuik.

She takes to the Olympic track on Sunday evening in the 10,000m.

Like Scout, Sarah is also aiming for the Inter-Counties Hill Running Championships in two weeks’ time and goes into the weekend in good form, having taken bronze in the Irish 10km road-race championships a fortnight ago and running to a convincing win in the Hunters Bog Trot last weekend when only nine men in a field of 115 finished ahead of her.

“I’m really excited about running in the Championships,” said McCormack.

“Hopefully, the strong competition will help me improve on my recent 10km road PB and improve my speed for some important hill races over the next few weeks.”

TLJT member Murray, 19, is coached by Bruce Scott at the Tweedbank-based club. He is the current holder of the Earlston and the Peebles Beltane Sprint handicap trophies from last year’s Borders circuit.

At the end of last season, he started a four-year course at Stirling University, studying PE teaching.

For the Championships, Murray has been chosen to represent his university in the 200m and is a member of the 4 x 100m relay team. Realistically he is not expecting to show up in the 200m and not get through the heats. However, the team are hoping to do well in the sprint relay as the quartet won the Scottish Universities sprint relay only three weeks ago. Murray is looking forward to running on the Olympic track.

Also competing at the venue over the weekend is Berwick’s Olympic hopeful Guy Learmonth, who will take part in the Bucs Visa Outdoor Athletics Championship.