Coping with Covid: Q&A with Giffnock North’s Erin Wallace  

Introduction by Dudley Walker

When she toed the starting line in the Kelvin Hall on the 13th of December 2009 who’d have thought Erin would be where she is today. Her club debut was at an indoor league match in a 600m race in a time of 2:12.18, in third place behind Holly Little from COGVP.

From that day Erin’s progress has been remarkable as she divided her time between triathlon and athletics. Coming through the age groups at the club saw her be part of an exceptionally talented group of young female athletes who shared numerous team title wins. Athletes including Danielle Kelly, Nikki Miller, Rebecca Metcalfe, Sarah Eunson and Holly Still all joined forces with Erin to sweep the boards in competition in Scotland and beyond.

Erin’s individual improvement has been relentless, seeing her take so many titles and break numerous age group records. Have a look at the Power of 10 link below to get an idea of her achievements. Having stepped away from triathlon to focus on athletics, Erin joined Jemma Reekie and Laura Muir in Andy Young’s elite training group in 2019 but remains very much a Giffnock North athlete, and continues to wear the amber and gold colours with pride.

Clare Stevenson recently spoke to Erin and completed the following Q& A with her. Thanks to Erin, who despite her busy schedule has taken time out to give us a flavour of what she’s been up to and her plans for the future.

 

Q&A with Erin Wallace

Q: How is the pandemic impacting on your life as an athlete and student?
“At the beginning of the pandemic, I took lockdown and competition cancellation as a positive thing. Since switching to full-time athletics I have struggled with injuries in the past year or so, so with no competitions or pressure to get back into heavy training, I took time to build up my sessions and mileage before competition resumes again.

Recently, especially with return to university and the winter months, it has been more of a struggle, and with restrictions going on and off everything has been a bit uncertain, but it is nice to see light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine.”

Q: What does the Olympic Academy means to you?
“It is really nice to be recognised and invited onto such an important pathway and it gives me more confidence going into the future.”

Q: How is training going in the midst of COVID?
“It hasn’t been too bad- despite access to track, gyms and pools etc being a bit all over the place. I think athletics is a good sport to be in, especially long distance running because a lot of training can be done in parks and streets. My training group is lucky that we have managed to get a few weeks at altitude in South Africa before Christmas. I am lucky to still be able to access some sports facilities despite the lockdown through the Institute of Sport and I have been training hard the whole time- so hopefully it pays off next season.”

Q: How are you dealing with academic demands as well as training?
“This year uni has been online so it hasn’t been too bad as I can fit my lectures in around training. Other years, I have just worked out what training I need to do and how much studying/academic work I have to do in order to feel ready for exams. It is easier to plan ahead if you know what coursework/training you will have to do.”

Q: Can you say anything about your plans for next year?
“European U23 Championships will hopefully go ahead in July 2021 and that is my main goal for the year. They’re to be hosted in Bergen, Norway, which is apparently the rainiest city in western Europe – should suit a Glasgow girl perfectly.”

Q: Any message for all the athletes for 2021 who, like you, have experienced a frustrating dearth of competition?
“I think it is important to remember that competition will return at some point and although it seems unlikely to be soon, when it does it’ll come around quite fast. Try to be ready.”

All the best, Erin, from all at the club, and here’s to a fit, fast and healthy 2021.

Check out Erin’s Power of 10 profile here: Athlete Profile (thepowerof10.info)

Pictures show Erin with her training squad in South Africa. You may recognise one or two of the other athletes. It has been impossible to verify if Erin’s training includes outrunning hungry cheetahs. No cheetahs were prepared to answer the question.