I’m incredibly fortunate that I get to live out my dream every day as a professional
middle-distance runner. I know not everyone gets the opportunity to do that, and
there isn’t a day I take for granted.
But getting to this point was beyond challenging.
I’ve had injuries, setbacks, self-doubt, and plenty of people along the way who
didn’t believe I could make it to where I am today.
When I was a freshman at VT, it’d be comical to think I’d be a professional runner
one day. I was a late bloomer, so I was nowhere near the level I’m at now.
But I had a university, community, and team that believed in me, including my
coach, Ben Thomas, who’s been a major influence in my life and career.
Coming over from Glasgow, Scotland, I didn’t quite know what to expect when I
stepped foot in Blacksburg, but I would soon discover that no matter how much I
struggled or failed, I’d be surrounded by people who believed in me and guided me
on my path to becoming a professional athlete.
Starting at rock bottom
I wasn’t unlike any other freshman coming in.
I was starting at the bottom, and I actually looked forward to the challenge of
proving myself and making an impact on the team.
Looking back on it now, perhaps I underestimated how difficult my first year
I dealt with some illnesses and injuries right away, and it seemed like nothing
could go right for me during my freshman season.
It got so bad that Coach Ben was concerned that I wouldn’t come back for my
sophomore season, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
If anything, these setbacks made me determined to come back stronger and better
I had a full year of training and competing without any major obstacles. With
consistency and a clean bill of health, that’s when I began to believe I could
compete against the best of the best in the NCAA.
Now or never
My career at VT was a slow burn in terms of progress. As a matter of fact, it took
until my very last college race before I accomplished my ultimate goal of winning
an NCAA title with the group of freshmen I came in with, which made it that more
We won the title at the 2018 Indoors in the distance medley relay, and with all of
us being seniors in our final race, it was a fitting way to go out.
This is what we’d been working toward every year at VT, so we knew going into
the race that this…