Name: Taylah Spence
I really enjoy my athletics training! I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t love it. That’s half the battle when it comes to being motivated and achieving your goals. I love the thrill of competing, especially when I’m on the start line at competitions or up against our Shetland rivals! Nothing beats it.
I met some of my best friends at the Orkney Athletics Club, it was the highlight of my day going to training! Throughout exam periods it was the break I needed in between studying and during my midwifery training it gave me a way to clear my head after a busy shift.
I’ve been involved with the Orkney Athletics Club since I was in Primary 5 when they invited me to join after competing at the Primary Schools Athletics competition held at Picky.
From here I was asked to compete throughout the different age groups for Orkney and I also competed for the Highlands and Islands Performance Participation Opportunity (HIPPO) team. This led to my involvement with the Junior-Inter County squad and then onto competing at my first Island Games in 2015 in Jersey.
I was also heavily involved in netball where I played for Orkney and was part of the U17 Scotland Netball Squad from the age of 13. In my final year with the squad, I was selected to compete at Netball Europe where we played England, Ireland and Wales.
When I moved to Aberdeen for university in 2016, I had to drop a sport and I began to solely focus on athletics due to the demands of my midwifery course.
I currently train 5 - 6 days a week which consists of track, weights, technical and recovery sessions. Throughout my midwifery training I’ve had to try and balance this with shift work. In Aberdeen, it was 12-hour shifts in the hospital - day and night - so that was challenging. I just had to be very focused while also making sure I wasn’t running myself down.
I’ve been so fortunate to have had fantastic training groups both here at home in Orkney and in Aberdeen. It makes a tough session that peedie bit easier when you have a good group to train with and a coach who pushes you.
Throughout the 2019 season, I achieved all of my goals which included getting personal bests in the 100m and 200m. As well as this, I medalled at the Island Games running the third fastest time ever in the 200m event at this competition. However, the highlight of my year was getting an invitation to compete at the British Championships.
My aim for next season is to improve both my personal bests, compete at the Scottish Championships and get both the qualifying times for the British Championships. I’ve always aimed for a national call up too so I’m hoping 2020 will be the year!
I can’t wait to start training through the Picky sponsorship. I will use the track and gym as well as the pool and health suite for recovery in between sessions. My coach says there is still a bit of work to do in relation to my block starts and acceleration phase in my races, so I’ll be able to use the blocks on the track to help facilitate this. There’s always something to improve on and the facilities at the Picky Centre will certainly be a big help in my training and development.
I’m so excited to be back living here in Orkney permanently now that I’ve finished my midwifery degree and I’m feeling very fortunate to be coming home to such fantastic support from the Picky Centre through this sponsorship!