Matthew wins gold in Denmark!

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2018 has been another incredible year of achievements from Perth's sports scene. From swim coach Ann Dickson recently winning sportscotland’s coveted Lifetime Achievement Award; the young fencers at Salle Ossian representing Scotland on a world stage; and freestyle BMX rider Alex Donnachie being the first ever Scot to scoop up a medal at this year’s X games contest – our athletes and coaches have done us proud on the world stage.

We can now add to that list twelve year old Matthew Doig. A racerunner with Strathearn Harriers, this year he not only won gold over the five racerunning events he competed in, in Denmark at the European Championships, he smashed a world record! Speaking to club coach Jim Hunter, he told me, “Matthew has had a meteoric rise through the ranks of racerunning. He is a dedicated young athlete who has such a positive training attitude - he is an inspiration to all around him.”

Matthew Doig - portrait with medal

The feeling is mutual: Matthew told us, "I would like to thank my family and everyone at the Harriers for the support and encouragement they have given me."

"I have always been well supported and really appreciate this as it helps make me more determined to do my best."

We had the opportunity to chat with Matthew about his success in Denmark earlier this year, his personal highlights training at the Harriers, and his plans for the future.

Small City: Congratulations on winning gold over your five events in the European Championships in Denmark earlier this year! You also broke the under 14 age group world record in the 400m.

What was your experience like, going to Denmark and competing? And how did it feel to achieve such stellar results?

Training was hard during the winter, in the rain and cold however this helped me get into the right condition for my summer of competitions.

Matthew: I love going to Denmark, this is my third time I have run there and it is a very good competitive championship, I was the only Scottish racerunner this time however I have made friends with other competitors from other countries in previous years and it was nice to see them all again. I spent a lot of time with the USA and Australian teams.

I was really excited when my dad told me we were going to the Racerunners cup in Copenhagen again, I missed out last year as I was recovering from an operation. I enjoy training so started going more frequently in the run up.

The first day of competition was streamed live on the internet so my friends and family back home were able to watch my first two races. Before my 800m final, I was feeling very nervous, I’ve never felt anything like it when competing in Scotland but as soon as the race started I felt fine and enjoyed the race.

I won five gold medals in my five races and also achieved the under 14 world record in the 1500m. I didn’t realise at the time I had got the record and was very happy when it was announced as I got my medal.

My family told me they were extremely proud and I got a special recognition award from Perth Strathtay Harriers which Tommy Wright gave me at McDiarmid Park.

Training was hard during the winter, in the rain and cold however this helped me get into the right condition for my summer of competitions.

GALLERY

SC: What have been your personal highlights thus far during your time at Harriers? 

M: I enjoy the Harriers, I am beginning to really enjoy the longer races such as the 800m and 1500m as I need to think about my tactics as well as my speed and technique.

I was the only one doing racerunning at the Harriers for a couple of years and now there are 8 or 9 racerunners and wheelchair racers, I have made new friends and sometimes play against them on my xbox.

SC: What aspects of racerunning do you enjoy the most? 

M: I enjoy going fast on my racerunner, I can go as fast as I can and feel safe as the bike is designed to support me. Racerunning has helped my strength, balance and coordination as well as keeping me fit, I would recommend it to anyone to try it out and feel the benefits. I know the other racerunners feel the same as we have all improved.

Racerunning has helped my strength, balance and coordination as well as keeping me fit, I would recommend it to anyone to try it out and feel the benefits.SC: What is your training routine like? 

M: I train twice a week and sometimes do more in the summer. I like playing football and keeping active so this all helps me. I enjoy training, I do strength and conditioning work at the gym too. At harriers, my coach has us practise drills on the grass which is hard work, this makes going on the track easier and I can go faster with the same effort.

SC: What are your plans for the future with racerunning? 

M: I enjoy racerunning and see myself competing in the sport for a long time. I am looking to start practising the 5000m which is twelve and a half times around the track. I can do this in training but would love to compete against others in a race.

Racerunning is now a World para athletics event and the aim is for it to be included in the Paralympics in 2024. I would love to get to that level.

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