Three medals at London – but now Sammi Kinghorn is headed for three road races over next month
Double World champion Sammi Kinghorn swaps the track for the road this weekend – as she starts her bid to wear a Scotland vest at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Wheelchair athlete Kinghorn was a national hero in July as she landed two golds and a bronze medal in London at the World Para Champs, including racing to a T53 200m World Record.
Now, however, the 21-year-old Borders athlete must hit the road and the miles as she seeks to realise her dream of representing Scotland in Australia in April, when the marathon and the 1500m are the only events she is eligible for within the Para programme for Gold Coast 2018.
Sammi will race the 13.1 miles of the Great North Run this weekend in the longest race of her life and then plans a 10K at the Great Scottish Run before a marathon debut in Chicago on October 8.
‘It’s a big change moving from the track to the road and I am not sure I am looking forward to it!’ said Sammi, who won 100m and 200m gold in London and is coached by Ian Mirfin.
‘I’ve not done a marathon before at all so the Great North Run is a half and that’s a good place to start. I want to see I can do the half and then try the Chicago Marathon.
‘We have the Great Scottish Run in between and will fly to America on the Monday after the race in Glasgow. I’m then hooking up with some USA wheelchair athletes in Illinois prior to the race in Chicago.
It’s like any endurance athlete, really, you have to do the training for longer distances. I’ve routes at Glasgow Green that I can use with the chair and for some of the even longer ones I use roads back home in the Borders. I have done 16 and 17 miles but it is hard work for sure.’
Named on a short-list for Team Scotland Para Athlete of the Year – along with the likes of tennis player Gordon Reid – Sammi has a Gold Coast goal after competing at Hampden in the last Commonwealth Games at 1500m as an 18-year-old.
‘If doing the marathon means I can race for Scotland, in that vest, at a Commonwealth Games again then I will do it,’ she said.
‘The schedule for Gold Coast set up by the event organisers doesn’t have my track events apart from 1500m; none of the shorter events from London 2017 – 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m – are in the programme. The marathon is in the programme, so I feel I have to give it a try.
‘Basically, unless something goes badly wrong for me in Chicago, and I do manage to get around, then I’ll be all set for the 1500m and the marathon at Gold Coast 2018.
‘I loved representing Scotland at Glasgow 2014 in front of the Hampden crowd and I really want to do it all again if I can.
‘I don’t know all that much about the opposition in terms of the marathon – obviously the ones on the tack I race often and you all get to know each other.
‘So there’s a learning curve to come and we will have to wait and see on times and so on but I would like to get under the two hour mark for the marathon. I’m sure my coach would look at that side of it after Chicago.’
Sammi with her coach, Ian Mirfin, on a visit to the scottishathletics office in Edinburgh
And, a couple of hours after visiting scottishathletics, this is Sammi with a wheelchair racing group in Fife working hard to help the next generation of Para athletes
Sue Gyford’s video interview with Sammi in London after 200m gold and WR