He was one of the big surprises this season: Jamie Bowie, the Scotsman who came out of nowhere and took the British 4x400m relay straight through to the World Championship final.
Back in July the athlete from Inverness stormed through the rounds at the UK Trials in Birmingham to finish fifth in the final and to take a spot in Britain’s highly contested 4x400m relay squad. Now, to top off a nearly perfect season, Bowie has been named as one of the new faces on the highly sought after “Oscar shortlist” of British Athletics, the Lottery Funding list, as an athlete with medal potential for Rio 2016.
Let’s be honest, who would have not put him on that list? Not only did Bowie battle it out on the home straight in Moscow against the Jamaicans, but also did he run the fastest British split in the semi-final in 44.64sec.
Trying to explain the huge jump from his PB of 46.06sec to the time he ran in the relay Bowie laughs: “I’m a good relay runner and I suppose I always run really well in relays. In 2011 I did something quite similar, I had a PB of 46.8 and then ran 45.24, but I think there is just something about putting a baton in my hand and giving me a rolling start that just brings the best out in me.
“With relays I almost feel, not pressure, but responsibility to the team. You’re passing that baton round. The last 50m of a 400m is pretty tough as it is, but when you have got someone there at the end shouting at you to get to that finish line you just want to get there as quick as possible. It’s like I have a sense of duty to do the rest of the guys proud and that was certainly the case in Moscow.”
Unfortunately for Bowie, he did not get to run the final and he admits:
“Yes, I was a bit gutted. We were told quite late, just before we went into the call room, so we had done all the warm-up together. So yes I was quite disappointed.
“But Luke (Lennon-Ford) and I managed to get a seat right at the finish line, so there were only three seats in front of us and then there was already the track so we were shouting for the guys, because obviously you want them to do well.”
Looking at this year’s relay it becomes apparent how young the team actually is, with Bowie, Luke Lennon-Ford and Nigel Levine rising through the junior ranks together, all making the team to Moscow. However, with next year’s Commonwealth Games being the pinnacle for probably all British athletes, Bowie will be representing Scotland and is hoping to go head to head against his GB teammates in the relay.
While the atmosphere in Moscow was often lacking passion from the stands, bringing the Commonwealth Games to Scotland has already shown the nation’s enthusiasm for sport with most tickets for the track and field events being sold out months before the event.
Looking towards next summer, Bowie’s voice lights up with excitement: “I think we have a group of guys who are capable of running the Scottish standard. It is a pretty tough one, but I think I showed it in my leg in the worlds, if you can tuck in behind someone and then still manage to go past him you can run some pretty strong times.
“If I was to do that same leg again in the exact same way I did it in Moscow – and I had a good British support there – but if I imagine 40,000 Scottish people all screaming that would be absolutely amazing. Put four guys together and stick them into a stadium against some good teams and with a Scottish crowd behind them, who knows what could happen?”
However, despite the empty seats in Moscow, Bowie explains why running on this specific track meant a lot to him: “I was a bit in awe to compete in an Olympic stadium where some of the greatest athletes of all times have competed. You had the Ovett and Coe battle and of course Allan Wells in the 100m, another Scotsman, so just because of that it already felt pretty special to me to be in that particular stadium.”
Despite his inclusion in the Lottery Funding and his World Championship appearance, Bowie is yet to be named as part of Scotland’s team for the Commonwealth Games. Athletes have time until the beginning of June to prove their form and the former Heriot-Watt University student doesn’t want to leave any room for doubt from early on in the season: “We’ll probably cut the indoor season a bit short and will head out on warm weather training and do a few competitions out there just to kick start the season.
“I normally take a bit of time to get into my season, people will have probably noticed that from my PowerOf10. So if I start a bit earlier this year, then hopefully I’ll have a bit more momentum earlier in the season.”