It had been a long build up towards the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The first announcement, that Glasgow had won the bid almost 7 years ago, was when I was introduced to the thought that I could be competing in my first major championship, for Scotland, on home soil. After such a long build up, it was over in an instant. 7 years, all over with in under 10 minutes. It’s a really weird situation to find yourself in but instantly my aims and goals for the year are re-written and a new championship is always on the horizon.
The whole experience is something that I will always cherish. Hearing the roar from the crowd as my name was announced was deafening. Every Scottish athlete who competed in the Games will always have such fond memories of their competition regardless of their performance, as we will never experience anything close to it again. It was the first time that all of my family were in the stadium to watch me compete. Even my Gran came through to Glasgow to experience the Hampden roar. My Granddad (who is unfortunately no longer with us) always told my Gran that one day I was going to make the Olympics and when I did she had to make sure she was there. I don’t think he would have ever imagined that the Commonwealths would return to Scotland again, so it was really special for me knowing she was there, somewhere amongst the 40,000 strong crowd.
I was a little disappointed with my own performance but after a difficult period of almost 8 months with constant on and off illness, it was always going to be a struggle to make the start line. My parents were extremely proud of how quickly I managed to turn things around and get myself into reasonable shape in time for the Games. I would have loved to have been able to press the pause button and move the Championships back until September but unfortunately I don’t possess such a skill! In the end, I came away with 6th place (higher than my current ranking of 8th), the fastest time I’ve ran all year and a Scottish native record – so it wasn’t a bad day at the office but not the performance I wanted to give.
Village life is a strange experience, you are engulfed in the Games in every sense. There really is nothing else to think about as you are surrounded. I was very lucky to have experienced it at the London Olympics and was prepared about what to expect going in there. I was a little bit unlucky to fall ill with a cold the day before my race but these things are difficult to avoid with hundreds of athletes all living together and eating together in such close quarters. Life is made extremely simple. No cooking, no cleaning – it’s a very strange feeling coming home and realising that you have some responsibilities!
The Commonwealth Games were definitely a championship to remember, perhaps not for my own personal performance but for how amazing the crowds were. Every single person played their own part in the Games. Officials, athletes, managers, Clydesiders – I didn’t come across one person with anything negative to say – apart from about the weather! I have always been extremely proud to be Scottish but these Games really did affirm that. It was amazing to hear everyone so positive about Scotland, somewhere I love. Just as much as everyone else it seems!