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Macphie supports local athlete

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At Macphie we’re passionate about corporate social responsibility, driving a number of initiatives to support the local community. Most recently, we donated £500 to local athlete, Kelsey Stewart, to support her training.

At just 19 years old, Kelsey has big ambitions to make it to the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and currently competes in the 400m and 800m for Aberdeen Amateur Athletics Club. Taking a break from her very busy training schedule, she talked to us about the impact this donation will have on her development plan.

Kelsey, can you tell us a little bit about your sport and your busy training schedule? 

I first got involved in running when I was 8 years old. A local mile race was advertised at school and, like every other child that age, I wanted to do everything. When I came home and said I wanted to do it my mums response was, “No, you’re like me, you can’t run!” but I kept on annoying my parents until my dad gave in and agreed to take me.

I was one of the youngest there and came second out of all of the girls who took part. This achievement got me a place on the Mill O’ Forest Primary School cross-country team which lead to me joining Banchory Stonehaven Athletics Club which gave me a solid start in athletics.

When I was 14 my coaches Ken and Joyce Hogg took me under their wing and I’m so grateful for the time and work they’ve put into me. I’m still very much a work in progress but with their knowledge and guidance I’m hoping the finished product will be a good one! I now run for Aberdeen Amateur Athletics Club who are based at Aberdeen Sports Village.

I train 5-6 days a week. My typical week involves running sessions with my training group as well as two strength and conditioning sessions with the University of Aberdeen sports bursars. Most of my sessions take place at Aberdeen Sports Village. We’re lucky to have such great facilities on our doorstep.

Our training group has a mixture of males and females who specialise in different distances from 400m – 10,000m. Some of the group are students and the rest are in full-time employment. It’s good to surround myself with people who have different life experiences as I can learn a lot from them.

Highlights of the 2016 summer season included getting my first individual senior call up for Scotland and representing the Great Britain under 20 team in the 4x400m relay at the Loughborough International. As well as this, I won a silver medal in the British Universities Championships in the 800m and won the Scottish Under 20 400m title for the third year in a row. Another highlight was winning a silver medal in the Scottish Senior Championships in the 400m. I ran new 400m and 800m personal bests of 54.41 and 2.07.28.

With such a busy training schedule, how do you stay motivated?

Finding motivation has never really been a struggle for me. I think I’m a bit obsessed actually! My coaches have a long term development plan for me that I have real belief in. I know that if I do everything they say, it will put me in the best possible position for the future.

The girls in my training group keep each other motivated in every training session. We all encourage each other when the going gets tough and it’s nice to know that they’re feeling the same pain as I am! We’re really close and they feel like sisters to me so athletics has made me friends for life.

How will the donation from Macphie support your journey to the Commonwealth Games?

The donation from Macphie will allow me to get in the best possible position for selection for the Commonwealth Games. It will allow me to travel to major championships throughout the UK such as the British Under 23 Championships and the British Senior Championships to get the best level of competition possible.

As well as this, it will help with the costs of travel to and from my training in Aberdeen and to get regular sports massages to help with the effects of training hard. It also means that when my trainers get worn down or my spikes rip, I can buy replacements quickly.

In the relay, Team Scotland will be set a quota of places and not everyone may be lucky enough to be selected, so as a team all we can do is try to run the qualifying time and hope for the best. This donation will allow me to train and compete to the best of my ability and to hopefully do my bit for the team.

If I run well at the British Under 23 Championships there is a possibility of selection for Great Britain for the European Under 23 Championships which are being held in Poland. There is a really strong group of girls in the UK at the moment in that age group and the team will be going to the Europeans looking to win gold. It would be great to be a part of that.