Scotland’s most decorated athlete paid a visit to the Helix in Falkirk this week as she lent her support to a campaign aimed at encouraging youngsters to be more healthy and active.
Olympic, World and European medallist Eilidh Doyle (32) was the special guest at the Go Run for Fun event, which saw more than 150 pupils from local primary schools – St Joseph’s, Bonnybridge, Victoria, St Margaret’s, Maddiston, Whitecross and Nethermains – run, hop, walk, skip, and jump around the 2km circuit.
And it gave Doyle, who is taking a break from athletics to start a family, a chance to reflect on the importance of initiatives such as these.
She told the Falkirk Herald: “Sometimes you can get caught up when you are away competing and surrounded by elite athletes – you forget what it is you have achieved.
“It’s nice to come and think back to what you were like at this age, the events that you took part in and the people that came to visit your school. It had an impact on you, so it’s important to give that back.
“It puts everything into perspective. The elite side of it is what I do as a career and do as a job but, ultimately, it’s about the love of sport, love of exercise and having fun – and that’s why these days bring it back to you.”
Doyle has won numerous accolades throughout her career.
The gold in the 400m hurdles at the European Championships in Switzerland in 2014, and the silver for Scotland at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games the same year, rank up there as her proudest achievements.
She also led out Team Scotland at the Gold Coast Games in 2018 and is the women’s Scottish record holder for the 400m hurdles.
She recently announced that she would be hanging up her spikes for the season after the news she is expecting her first child due in January next year.
However, the 32-year-old has no intentions of retiring and has her sights set on returning to compete at Tokyo 2020 – just six months after.
She said: “I‘d really like to come back. I still love competing, love training but I got to the point where I’d really like to start a family.
“Both my sisters have little ones and I think I have been quite lucky in terms sickness and keeping well so hopefully that carries on and everything is straight forward.
“I’ve been really enjoying it. It’s been nice to do different things, a lot of swimming and trying to keep fit but in different ways. It’s a new challenge but it is an exciting one.”
On Tokyo 2020, she said: “That will be my real motivation to get back after the baby arrives and be part of that four by four relay squad.
“We won a bronze at the last Olympics in 2016 so the aim is to be part of that squad for the next one.”