Golden girl Mhairi sets new best to win title

Mhairi Patience wins the Scottish indoor title (pic by Bobby Gavin)
Mhairi Patience wins the Scottish indoor title (pic by Bobby Gavin)

Milngavie athlete Mhairi Patience struck gold by taking the Scottish title at the national indoor championships in Glasgow last weekend.

The 21-year-old former Douglas Academy pupil won the 400 metres at the Emirates Arena, clocking a new best time of 55.85 seconds.

Yet the flat 400 metres isn’t even hurdles specialist Mhairi’s main event.

She said: “It’s difficult with 400 hurdles because you can’t do it indoors.

“I sat down with my coach at the start of the year and we thought that if I focussed on doing 400 metre sprints during the indoor season, hopefully that will bring down my time for the hurdles.

“Last year I did the 400 indoor and came second so it was an improvement from then, but more than anything I think I was happy with my time. Obviously I was absolutely ecstatic to get the gold medal but the PB was just nice to confirm that all that hard winter training I’d been doing was paying off.”

That time earned Mhairi a place in next week’s British Indoor Championships in Sheffield and she will also represent Strathclyde University in the British Universities championships before switching focus to the outdoor season.

The Commonwealth Games - and possible selection for the trip to the Gold Coast in April next - will loom large for many Scottish athletes this year. But Mhairi said she’s not thinking too far ahead at the moment.

She said: “The Commonwealth Games time is currently 57.29 and you have to run that three times and last year I ran 58.67. Anything can happen in athletics so I’ll keep working hard and trying to get my time down and if that happens then fantastic, but right now I’m just taking each race as it comes and focussing on each one individually until then.”

Mhairi’s coach Allan Scott added: “Mhairi has worked hard through the winter and it’s nice to see that hard work paying off with a big personal best and her first Scottish senior title.

“The plan for this indoor season is to improve her flat 400m time, this will give her the flat speed to realistically try and achieve a qualifying time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in her main event the 400m hurdles.

“Mhairi’s performance at the weekend is a good step in that direction and as this was her first 400m of the year it bodes well for more improvement as the season progresses.”