Mhairi Maclennan

Mhairi Maclennan

How does it feel for running and racing to finally be back to normalcy?

It's really fantastic to see running, racing and other sports slowly getting back to where they were pre-pandemic. Athletes seem to be truly and deeply grateful to be back competing. It's as if there has been a shift in attitude, a factory reset, and people have found true, authentic joy for the sport. I think there is a much more positive atmosphere at both races and training that I hope will last.

What was one of the things you missed during this year of Covid restrictions?

Honestly I missed the human side of sport. Yes, we love to work hard and push ourselves and succeed. But we also live and breathe running so that we connect with people, inspire and be inspired. Being able to train in groups again, and connect with friends and competitors at races again is very special.

What was one of the biggest training hurdles during this period and how did you deal with it?
I mean, asides from training alone (which I do a lot of the time anyway), I think not being able to go to the gym was frustrating and I don't even like the gym that much! I resorted to using a rucksack full of books, my plant pots, bits of furniture, anything really that I could use to mimic gym material. 

If you could change one thing about the sport, what would it be?

This sport has the potential to be raw, authentic, pure and wonderful. It can also be toxic and isolating. I think governing bodies can work better with athletes to create environments where athletes feel prioritized, where communication is more open, and athletes are protected, respected and celebrated. Athletes are the sport, without them the sport wouldn't exist, so they should be at the heart of the decisions being made by national governing bodies. 

When it comes to running, what would you say is your biggest strength and weakness?

My biggest strength is determination. I have a great capacity for perseverance and pushing through when times get rough. My biggest weakness is putting too much pressure and responsibility on my shoulders. I need to learn how to let others help and support me.

 

What's the weirdest or funniest thing that ever happened to you while running?

I mean, I think most of these stories are going to involve nature toilet trips gone awry...

What's your biggest pet peeve?

Disingenuine communication.

 

What's your biggest fear?

Not living a life that I feel reflects the person I want to be, and the values that I hold close.

 

In your free time when you’re not running, what hobbies do you enjoy?

What's spare time again? I work for the British Heart Foundation in Policy and Public Affairs, and this year I co-founded a non-profit organization, Kyniska Advocacy, to campaign for policy changes in women's sport to better protect, respect and celebrate women and girls in sport. I do like cooking, eating, socializing with friends, and spending time in the mountains.

What's it like being a part of the Great Britain team?

Being on a team is inspiring. It's motivation like no other and it gives you fuel to train hard throughout the winter months. You meet people on these teams that you can look up to and learn from.

Who would you say is the funniest teammate?

The funniest teammate I've ever had is hands-down Emily Hosker, but also I'm biased because she's my best friend.

Who is someone you look up to in the sport?

There are so many powerful and inspiring people to choose from, but I suppose I look up to Des Linden, Molly Seidel; essentially athletes who I feel like have managed to retain some life/sport balance as well as standing up for what they believe in. 

Who is one of your favorite athletes to train with?

I actually mostly train with boys. I live in a different city than my coach so I tend to try and recruit men to train with! I love a good session with Myles Max or Gregor Malcolm. They've definitely seen me through some tough sessions!

What's next for you?

Next up is a track 10,000 meters in London to give it another shot this year, and then I'm gearing up for my first half marathon. I'm trying to run the Commonwealth Games qualifying times over the next year so hopefully that works out for me!

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