Athletics News

‘Neil is the guy we all look up to and aspire to be’ – Craig Shennan

'Neil is the guy we all look up to and aspire to be' - Craig Shennan

Wednesday 27th March 2024

Craig Shennan celebrates gold in the U17 Men’s race at the Lindsays National XC at Falkirk last month (photo by Bobby Gavin)

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Craig Shennan has thanked Neil Gourley for helping him land his first GB and NI vest and shape his career path.

The Giffnock North AC youngster will race in the Junior men’s event at the World Cross in Serbia this weekend.

And it is abundantly clear Giffnock local hero Neil is inspiring those following him in yellow and blue vests.

Craig spoke to the 2023 European Indoor silver medallist recently and also received advice about a summer education switch to the United States (where Gourley himself is now based).

‘Neil is the guy that we all look up to,’ said the Giffnock 17-year-old.

‘You know that looking at World level when you see like the Kenyans and the Ethiopians and you ask yourself  ‘Can I really be like that?’

‘Then you see Neil being up at the top level you know what is possible. He went to the same high school as me (Williamwood) and came through the club.

‘So immediately you know if someone like him can be up there competing and running, what, 3:30 for 1500m, then it can be done.

It really puts into perspective what is possible and that you could be a professional athlete if you put your head down and get the work in.’

Neil missed the World Indoors through injury unfortunately but a trip back to Glasgow allowed him to visit all ages at Giffnock North (as he so often does when home in Scotland).

‘I was there when he dropped in on the club when home around the time of the World Indoors,’ said Criag.

‘I was doing an easy run that night so he was there and I was chatting to him about the Inter-Counties and World Cross trials.

‘We also spoke about his training and what not and how he’s getting back into fitness ready for the summer.

‘When I was sorting stuff for uni in America, Neil was a big help. He told me the kind of things to look for on my visits and that proved useful  Neil is so very helpful to everyone at Giffnock.

‘And those in the club have been brilliant to me, too.’

Neil on a recent trip back to his club, Giffnock North AC (photo via Twitter)

Coached by Dudley Walker, Craig ran up an age group at the Inter-Counties in Nottingham and fourth place that day helped in the selection discussion.

‘I am very…

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