At the end of the summer 2010 I was in bits when I didn’t make the team for the Commonwealth Games in India; four years on and it was starting to look like that might happen again. 2013 had been a bumpy year with a run of unlucky injuries and it was all down to an early track season for me to bag the qualifying time for Glasgow.


Leaving after more than 8 weeks in the US I must admit I felt a little deflated. I had been on a high after running 10:00 in Mt Sac and was looking forward to a faster race in Stanford. In the later stages of the race I didn’t feel myself and with two laps to go the lactic hit my legs pretty badly leaving me feeling like jelly. Crossing the line in 10:10 is not what I wanted to see. The journey home feels so long at times like these & there’s too much time to start over thinking things rather than just parking it and moving on.

Back home and the pressure was back on, where was I going to get another fast steeplechase? How was I going to run 15sec faster than my last race?, what if the lactic hit hard again? What if I run out of time to qualify? There were effectively two more chances for me to do it, Watford BMC and the International Flanders International meet in Ordegem, Belgium.

On paper, I was the fastest in the field going into Watford and so took it out from the gun. I was feeling strong but not having anyone to work with after the first km it was going to be a big ask to run 9:55 on my own. I came across the line in another 10:10 and although there was a bit of disappointment there I knew this had been a better performance than Standford, I felt stronger again.

Another two weeks of training and it was time to race in Belgium, the pressure was really on as this really was the last chance saloon! I’m not sure how I kept my nerves under control as it was in this same meet a year ago that I had a bad accident on a faulty water jump barrier that wasn’t secured properly & it effectively ruined my season.

The gun went and with approx 22 girls in the race the first lap was a bit scrappy, the first water jump came and went smoothly and I got into a good rhythm of running. Coach Rodgers was on the back straight and I could hear him shout “on pace.” I felt relaxed and strong, I just needed to hold it together and not panic. Two laps to go and I could hear, “you need two 79’s!” I knew it was there, I just needed to keep it controlled and try and wind it up last lap. The last two laps of a Chase can be brutal as I had experienced before in Stanford, this time it was different, I still had the running in the legs. The bell went and I was still on it, how much by I wasn’t sure. Into the home straight and gunning for the line, as I crossed I could see 9:52, 9:53. I was delighted but not celebrating yet as you have to wait for the photo finish to know the exact times, it felt like an age. 9:52.94, within the Commonwealth Games standard of 9:55 and also nearly 4 seconds off my existing Northern Ireland record and a ‘B’ standard for the Europeans Championships. We were delighted.

I’m so happy this week to be announced as one of the 14 athletes that have been selected to compete for Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games Glasgow this summer. This has been a lifetimes commitment and hard work with many ups and downs along the way. I believe that I’m a much stronger athlete than four years ago both physically and mentally.

I wouldn’t be here without the support from friends, family, my coaches Richard and Geoff and the support I receive from Athletics Northern Ireland, SINI and Hydro Run UK.

The knock backs can either make you or break you, it’s been a tough ride to get here and there are probably many more to come but I’m determined to make this a summer of athletics to remember and hope I can do everyone proud in Glasgow.

I definitely wouldn’t have achieved this if I didn’t keep believing!!!!