Things are hotting up for Borders athlete Thomas MacAskill in US
The 19-year-old is now in the US, having taken up a track and field scholarship studying sports psychology at Central Arizona College, near Coolidge, after completing a higher national diploma in sports coaching and development at Borders College in Galashiels earlier this year.
Temperatures there are hitting up to 45C, almost twice the 24C being recorded in his home-town at the moment and more than three times the altogether more autumnal 14C forecast for next Friday but the teenager is enjoying adjusting to that change in the weather.
“It’s warmer than Hawick, that’s for sure,” he told us.
“I’m adjusting well. It’s obviously very hot, and acclimatising isn’t something easy but I am all okay so far.
“I’m using the team to my advantage and letting them do the work in hard workout days and I’m just sitting in behind them.
“It’s been going brilliantly.
“We have seven different cross-country meets that run until late November before commencing our indoor season.
“Our main goal is to win the national cross-country championships which are in nine weeks’ time. It will be extremely tough but it is possible.
“We are doing runs twice a week in 43C heat to get acclimatised whilst doing 75 miles per week. In the peaking weeks before the nationals, we will be up to 85 to 90 miles per week.”
MacAskill’s studies Stateside follow a summer spent contesting mainly mile and half-mile races at various Highland and other games meetings, and despite having to cut his season short to head west over the Atlantic, he still managed to win a dozen races, also claiming five runner-up spots and one third place.
His firsts were at Strathmore over 3,200m, Oldmeldrum over 800m and 1,600m, Aberdeen over 800m, Lochcarron over 800m and 1,600m, Stonehaven over 800m and 1,600m, Lochearnhead over 1,600m, Dufftown over 800m and 1,600m and Ballater over 800m.
His second places were at Kelso over 1,600m, Ballater over 1,600m, Ambleside in Cumbria over 400m and Lochearnhead over 800m and 400m and he finished third over 1,600m at St Andrews.