Crossing the finish line again . . . Lynsey wins 600m at the Emirates Arena (photo by Bobby Gavin)
Andrew Butchart was left to babysit beside the track. Carol Sharp dug the original Edinburgh AC vest out from the back of a wardrobe. Training partner Ben Greenwood, on pacing duties, sought to help calm the pre-race nerves with words of encouragement.
Then, less than a minute and a half later, Lynsey Sharp had turned the clock back more than three years to return to racing once again.
The double Olympian is now 32 and a mum to wee Max but clearly the competitive instincts are still burning brightly inside.
Victory over 600m at the Glasgow Athletics Association Miler Meet in 1:28.91 was a very solid comeback given Lynsey’s last race was in the qualifying rounds of the World Champs in Doha in September 2019.
Covid, giving birth and a stress fracture early last summer which put paid to any outdoor season in 2022 have all had an impact.
Under the circumstances, thoughts of hanging up the spikes would only be natural.
‘My competitive instincts are there, yes, but there have been times over three years – or maybe even longer – when I have questioned whether I want to keep going on,’ said Lynsey.
‘We always said we would see how I felt after becoming a mum and how I responded after Max arrived.
‘I am in a really good place now with my fitness but I don’t know what will happen this year or beyond. I am just grateful to be out here running and racing again.’
The immediate goals are likely to be two 800m races back at the Emirates Arena in our 4J National Open and the 4J Scottish Senior Champs.
The Glasgow venue is now ‘home’ for indoor sessions but there were still plenty of nerves shortly before 6pm on Friday . . .
‘It’s so funny because I have been training at the Emirates a couple of times a week for a while now. I kept telling myself on the start-line ‘it is just the same as training’ but for some reason it feels different!
‘I think the first one after more than three years was always going to be the hardest.
‘It’s been very tough to get back to this level.
‘I was in good shape last April (having given birth to Max towards the end of 2021) and I think I could probably have run the 800m qualifying time for the Commonwealths in Birmingham.
‘But I got a stress fracture which is quite common post-partum and the recovery from that was longer than from the birth.
‘The injury really knocked me and still now there are adaptions we are making – I can’t lift as much on my back in the gym for example.
‘But I am doing about 70 percent of what I used to do and am in good shape. I just have to train smart.’
‘Obviously becoming a mum is a big adjustment. As an athlete, you have to be not necessarily selfish but self-centred on eating and sleeping and so on.
‘As a parent, you need to adapt – and particularly for us when Andrew is doing the same thing (as an athlete). Andrew has been incredibly supportive to me coming back and it has been a big learning curve. It needs good teamwork.’
Mum and coach Carol is invested, as ever, and had to conduct a house search for the EAC vest. In all likelihood, it has not been worn since the British Champs (and trials for Doha) in the summer of 2019.
‘My mum had to get my old Edinburgh AC vest out of a drawer somewhere and I guess I never really knew if I would get back to this point again,’ added Lynsey.
‘I paced here previously but I am pretty sure the last time I finished a race in Glasgow was at Hampden for the silver medal at the Commonwealths.’
Bobby Gavin, the Scottish Athletics photographer, captured the moment superbly on that occasion – and did so again as Lynsey came full circle on a Glasgow track.
That Hampden moment in August 2014 as captured by Bobby Gavin