GLASGOW 2014: Guy Learmonth gears up for race of his life

Lasswade Athletics Club member Guy Learmonth
Lasswade Athletics Club member Guy Learmonth

Berwick athlete Guy Learmonth is gearing himself up for the biggest race of his life next week.

The 22 year-old will come under starter’s orders at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next Tuesday, when his heat of the 800m will be staged.

Glasgow 2014 officially got underway last night (Wednesday) with the opening ceremony at Hampden.

And Learmonth, who is a proud Scot, says it will be an emotional moment when he steps out onto the track.

“As a home-based athlete I know I will have the home crowd behind me,” he says.

“Representing your country is possibly the greatest feeling in the world! I have a massive sense of pride and wearing my country’s vest spurs me on to run even faster

“I’ve put my body through absolute hell over the past four years. But now it is time to ‘SweatBlood’ more than ever, I’ve come such a long way but I think now is the time to go out and make a name for myself.”

In the build-up to the Games, Learmonth has spent time with the rest of the Scotland squad training in Villamoura, Portugal.

On his facebook page he wrote: “Training has been going amazing the last two weeks and I’ll be home in 10 days before I head into the athletes’ village.”

Learmonth will also compete as a member of the 4x400m relay squad and said he cannot wait for the action to finally start.

“I have been amazed by the support everyone has given me,” he said, “I just hope I can repay them by putting up a good performance.”

The former Longridge Towers pupil is studying Sports Management at Loughborough University where he also trains.

“I was born with a rugby ball in my hand,” he said. “My Dad knew I had some potential but it wasn’t until I quit rugby, at the age of 17, that I won my first National Indoor title with practically no athletics training.

“It was then that I realised I had some true raw talent and turned my focus to athletics and now I’m on my way to my first ever Commonwealth Games in Glasgow!”

Learmonth has already won three British University Championships, six Scottish National Indoor titles, two British Junior championships and is the Scottish and U23 Indoor record holder.

But Glasgow 2014 will be the big one, with the likes of Olympic champion David Rudisha in the field.

“I really want to do well,” he said, “and repay all the faith shown in me by my coaches (George Gandy and Henry Gray) and other people like Dame Kelly Holmes, who has given me so much support.”

The heats of the 800m are due to start at 10.30am on Tuesday (July 29), with Learmonth’s race being shown live on BBC1 at 1.25pm.