Harriet lives on the Scottish borders and juggles sports training with studying for her school exams. She talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, since the age of about 4. I have a very sporty family so I was born into a sporty environment. I started out doing most sports: netball, hockey, swimming, tennis, and football, before settling down to competitive running.
What made you decide to enter the world of running?
Having mucked around on the track in the Scottish Borders and enjoyed the Eildons, I found I was quite good at it. I also loved the feeling of running to beat someone or beat a time. What you get from running, both training and racing, is adrenaline, challenges and of course the rush from completing your training or a race! But I don't think you can beat the feeling of a good race, and striving to get a PB each time - whatever the outcome.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race to date is probably Scottish Schools cross country 2018. I came in 17th out of a large and very competitive field. I was also struggling with a small but persistent foot injury, so I think I was so happy because I had absolutely no expectation of myself at all. I was less than a minute away from qualifying for Scotland. I just remember feeling great whilst running, even though we were running in a blizzard! It was amazing to pass loads of people at the end, sprinting for the line.
And your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement would probably be between selection for Scotland East in the lower year of U15, and then taking 9 seconds off my 1500m PB to gain 10th in Scotland during the season. Both of these were very special moments for me.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
Yes, I've had some pretty amazing racing disasters. I had one around 3 months ago while doing the first real cross country of the season - a particularly difficult course. I was already battling a foot injury and ended up in pain right through the middle of the course, but I didn't want to give up. I had to walk up one of the hills, I just felt really sick. Then 5 metres from the finishing line I fell forward, had a seizure and got carried off to the hospital for check ups and blood tests. Definitely not my best race!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I'm happy to admit that I am actually quite a negative person, so sometimes I really struggle with all the injuries I've had. But I keep setting myself new goals, even if they are small things, like I just to finish a race and cross the line.
I am learning to understand that set backs can act as a motivation for me to push myself harder in training. You treat them like obstacles to overcome. Focusing on short term goals is my main way of dealing with setbacks. You can't give up, you have to keep fighting.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
A couple of things. First off - training hurts if you want to see real improvement. Secondly, race-wise I wish I'd been told more about tactics! At the start I always went off too fast or too slow in races, I couldn't find the right balance, and I struggled in national races especially knowing where to settle in the pack. Going right to the front isn't always the best way to run a race, but luckily I know that now!
What are your goals for 2019?
For 2019 I would just love to get a full track season under my belt again. Getting fully fit back and building my strength from injury is number one priority. Obviously Scotland East and full National selection is my main aim, which with a little bit of luck and some hard work around my GCSEs could be achievable.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
As I am currently living in Scotland, it is probably no surprise that I take a lot of inspiration from Laura Muir. She was a lot like me when she was younger, even her times were pretty similar. I look up to her as an athlete because of all that she has accomplished and her attitude, she wasn't always the most talented, but she worked harder than everyone else to make herself the best runner.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The main attraction - without a doubt is that you are "ethically made". The clothes all look amazing and cover the gear I need. It's really hard to find clothes that are ethically made, especially gym wear so I love how that's really unique about the brand. I especially love the gym leggings, they look very comfy and breathable.