Aberdeen athlete Zoey Clark is delighted to “get back to a wee bit of normality”.
Great Britain sprinter Clark, alongside fellow north-east athletes Kelsey Stewart and Alisha Rees, has been given access to the outdoor track at Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV) as the facility takes its first tentative step towards reopening, although the building remains off limits and the whole site is still closed to the public due to Scottish Government rules around Covid-19.
World Championship silver-medallist Clark, 25, is targeting a place at the Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed until next summer.
Due to the pandemic, she has been training on grass near her home and on the playing fields at Kings College.
On returning to a more-familiar surface, the 400m specialist said: “It’s honestly so exciting. I can run on the grass, so I can keep training, but it’s not quite the same.
“You can’t quite get the same intensities or the same distances.
“It’s so thrilling to come back and start to get back to wee bit of normality.”
The British Olympic Trials were supposed to take place last weekend, however, like Tokyo 2020, they are now expected to be rescheduled for next summer.
Clark, who is also pleased she can now see coach Eddie McKenna again, is “sceptical” about whether any athletics competitions will be able to take place this year, and her training at the moment resembles how she would normally work in the winter months -what she calls the “longer not-so-fast stuff”.
She is viewing the current situation as a “bit of a blessing”, due to the fact she would otherwise have been heading to the trials and potentially Japan feeling the effects of a niggling injury.
Clark said: “I had a bit of a niggle, which was almost right, but was lingering a little bit when lockdown happened.
“In a way it was good as it forced me to take my time with it.
“I trained on the grass to completely kick it rather than try to push on for the season.
“That’s completely healed, so it’s a bit of a blessing.”
She added: “I think, if Tokyo had gone ahead this year, the injury would’ve been in my mind and I don’t think I would have fully kicked it by that point.
“Now I can take a big breath and know physically I’m in great shape and there are no niggles which would affect me there.”
One of the ways Clark has been staying engaged with the running community during the lockdown is by sharing clips of her running or garage gym sessions on social media.
She has been pleased with the conversations about training this has sparked, saying: “I’ve been quite surprised actually.
“But everyone’s in the same boat and really missing gyms and stuff.
“There’s been a lot of feedback and people have been asking about stuff they can do at home as well.
“It’s nice to stay engaged. I miss people and social interactions, so I’m able to chat with people and help them through this difficult time.”