‘Keep working hard and you will improve’

Friday 30th May 2014

Ross Houston winning Edinburgh Half Marathon 2014

Scotland’s track, field and marathon team for the Commonwealth Games has reached 27 with the announcement of four more names.

Three marathon runners and pole vaulter Gregor MacLean have been added to the 23 athletes selected for Glasgow 2014 back in September.

Ross Houston was among them with the 34-year-old from Central AC a hugely popular figure on the athletics scene in Scotland.

Ross picked up an individual bronze and a team silver medal at the 5k Champs on Wednesday evening at Silverknowes and revealed, in this blog post for scottishathletics, that he has been overwhelmed by the warmth which greeted his selection.

Every single Scot who features this summer will deserve his or her place but Houston’s story is one that will definitely chime with our community – compelling evidence of how hard work can pay off.

‘It was a really good day on Wednesday. I was a wee bit oeverwhelmed by all the messages and goodwill ‘out there’ if I am honest.

‘Ever since the announcement broke in the morning, the number of tweets and messages just kept growing. I’ve been given a lot of support and that was a great feeling.

‘I have been racing in Scotland pretty much every year for the best part of 20 years. So I have certainly been around the block and got to know a few folk!

‘I definitely do think people maybe ‘identify’ with someone they have trained with or raced against over the years. I think the athletics community in Scotland is a great community.

‘The positive message to come out of it, I think, is that persistence and patient progress can pay off.

‘You may not be seen as the very top level athlete but if you work hard over a number of years then you can keep improving. You can keep chipping away at PBs, fitness and mental strength – and get to where you want to be.

‘Running is my hobby and it is still my hobby. Was there a time when I wondered if it was worthwhile? Not particularly. No. Obviously there are moments when you doubt yourself after a bad race or are going through a bad patch in training.

‘You are really knackered and maybe you think ‘How on earth can I get the times I want? When will I ever see any improvement?’

‘But, invariably, if you stick at it then it does come good and the improvement is noticeable.

‘I’ve been thinking about Glasgow 2014 for a number of years.

‘When the standards were announced for the Commonwealths and it was 2.19 for men I wasn’t too far away and it would have been silly not to have had a shot at it.

‘I just trained hard to try and chip away at my time in the marathon. So it is not an exaggeration to say that every day for three or four years I was thinking about this – and trying to be part of Team Scotland.

‘The event being here just added to the excitement. The marathon is not ticketed so I expect a number of family and friends to be able to be there in Glasgow on the streets cheering me on.

‘I’ve worked on the assumption for a while now that I would be running on July 27 and training, preparation, diet is all geared towards that goal.

‘It was a bit of a gamble not running in London in April. I had missed a bit with a back injury in January and February so that did slightly make up my mind. But I still had to wait and see what others did in London – wondering if they would better my time.

‘Yes, it was a really strange day. And the week before in Manchester. I know all the guys who were trying for the time and I wanted them to do well. But I didn’t really want them getting beyond me. You can imagine that was quite awkward emotionally.

‘I’ve not set hard and fast goals yet for July but would love to think I can run a PB and perform at my best on the day.’

Tags: Central AC, Glasgow 2014, marathon, road running, Ross Houston

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