From Lothian RC to Birmingham – via British Columbia and North Carolina

Thursday 28th July 2022

Sarah Inglis in action in London in 2021 in the GB marathon trial for Olympics with Steph Davis (who unfortunately misses out on Birmingham 2022). Photo by Mark Shearman

Our Birmingham 2022 Countdown content

Sarah Inglis will line up for Team Scotland at the Commonwealth Games after a journey through athletics which stretches back 20 years.

The 30-year-old first joined Lothian Running Club at the age of ten and candidly admitted that her career path has been ‘long and winding’ with a dip while she attended university.

Stepping onto the blue track at the Alexander Stadium wearing a blue Team Scotland vest will thus be a huge thrill, with Sarah’s career having parallels with 800m runner Jenny Selman.

No surprise, then, that the North Carolina-based athlete – who is now a full-time athlete for the first time in her life after suspending her teaching career – has urged young athletes in Scotland to not give up on their dreams.

‘The Commonwealths were the main goal for the season so I’m really happy to be selected,’ said Sarah, who will race the 5000m and the 10,000m after just missing out on the World Champs with GB and NI.

‘I came out and did some races in the spring and the objective was to get the times required to get into Team Scotland.

‘I was 30 last year and I’ve been in this sport for a long, long time. I was 10 when I was first at Lothian Running Club. I’ve had to chip away at my times and try and improve my performance year on year.

‘I had a dip when I went to university and just at that stage in my life. Then when you look at my Power of 10 profile, it picks up again in my mid-20s.

‘I would say to young Scottish athletes: don’t be disheartened if your performances plateau at times; keep working away and it will come.’


Jenny Selman feature in The Scotsman

With help from Alex Jackson, the impression that Sarah (Lothian RC), Jenny Selman (Fife AC) and Eilish McColgan (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) raced regularly in their early teens at events like the East District XC and East League XC has been confirmed as correct.

Alex trawled a number of races via the excellent RR and CC Commission website Archive and found a significant outcome from almost fully 15 years ago in an East League XC meeting.

Sarah won the race by a couple of seconds from her sister, Mhairi, with Eilish in fourth. Laura Muir, then an U15 athlete with Dunfermline and West Fife, was eighth and Jenny Tan (now Selman) was 21st in the results (see online).


‘I’ve known Jenny and Eilish for years and we raced in age group events as kids,’ recalled Sarah.

‘It is testament to us all that here we are on the Commonwealth Games stage. Eilish is world class of course but Jenny and I have pursued this kind of level and this Team Scotland selection for so long. We’re relishing the moment, to be honest.’

After living for a number of years in Canada, where she worked as a PE teacher, Sarah moved to North Carolina on America’s East Coast to join a professional running group led by coaches  Alistair and Amy Cragg.

‘For me it has been a big change to now be a full-time athlete for the first time in my life,’ she said.

‘It is a huge change from teaching primary school age kids their PE.

‘The lifestyle is different and there’s more chance to focus on my running. We meet as a group and we run together, do our drills, do our gym.

‘At one stage, I was fitting in runs by doing them to and from my working day at school.

‘I sometimes have to pinch myself that this is real and that my running is now my job.’


Tags: Eilish McColgan, Jenny Selman, Lothian RC, Sarah Inglis

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