Partridge on mixing training and education

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Athletes are enjoying increased profile in the media as interest grows ahead of the Commonwealth Games – both within the sport and in the wider Scottish sporting public.

And, as that happens, it is very easy for many people to forget that many of our track, field and marathon competitors at Glasgow 2014 will not be not full-time athletes.

It is worth noting that only two of Scotland’s five Olympians at London 2012, Lee McConnell and Eilidh Child, were ‘full-time’ two years ago. Lynsey Sharp and Eilish McColgan were in further education and Freya Murray (now Ross) in employment.

Susan Partridge finished 10thin the marathon at the World Champs in Moscow last summer and, in this special blog post, confirms she ‘enjoys’ the diversity of combining training with competition at work at the University of Leeds.

‘I’m obviously always conscious that I have to mix all my athletics efforts with my work commitments at Leeds University.

‘They have been absolutely brilliant at helping me with my running. They have supported the Commonwealth Games saying to me ‘take whatever time you need’.
‘So I have unpaid leave and I use all my holidays.

‘I get a bit of time off as well to go away and train. They have been very supportive and even little things, like knowing that sometimes my mind might not be totally on my work, have been appreciated by me.

‘That kind of help is great and I am part-time anyway. I work on hip replacements and I do enjoy having something different to focus on as well as athletes. If I was a full-time athlete, my morning run would happen about 1pm!

‘I like the work environment and having something else. I need that routine and diversion if you like. It can be a juggling act sometimes when you are asked to go to a race two days in advance and you have already used holiday time to push your training.

‘But you have to have targets and you cannot set limitations on what you might or might not achieve.

‘I wanted goals before Glasgow in 2014 because it is a long time between Moscow last August and the Commonwealth Games and that’s why I decided to compete at events like the World Half in Denmark (March 29).

‘As for the Games itself, the Kenyans are going to be there with a strong team. That is a difficult one because quite often they don’t do that for a Commonwealth Games but they have announced a very strong team.

‘It was always a possibility and of course it is up to them. But, in Mosocw, only one athlete in the top 10 was an African so nothing is ever guaranteed in a marathon race.’