Kayleigh Jarrett is enjoying her running career in the United States but is looking forward to a return visit to the North-east.
The Metro Aberdeen club member is combining an athletics scholarship with studying for a degree in exercise physiology at Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas.
She showed fine form in her opening three races for her team, the Mustangs, having set 5km record times for her university, and is now looking forward to more challenges.
Kayleigh said: “I competed in three 5km cross country races, the Texas Tech Open at Lubbock, the Southern Stampede 5km invitational at Joplin, Missouri, and the Arkansas Chile Pepper at Fayetteville.
“I was second at Lubbock and scored a personal best time when finishing first in my division at the Southern Stampede. That was a confidence booster. Then I was sixth overall and top Division II runner at the Chile Pepper.
“I have enjoyed them so far, although I don’t like the start of the races – I get boxed in a lot and in one race it ended in an elbow war with another runner.
“The team have been doing well and we are getting stronger at each event.
“We have two major events coming up soon – the Lone Star Conference race on October 21 and the NCAA II South Central Regional Championship on November 4.
“The team goals are to win the Lone Star Conference again and to qualify for the Nationals. Coach Koby Styles is looking for me to qualify for the NCAA II Championship, which would be awesome.”
Kayleigh will be adding another string to her bow later in the season by competing indoors for the first time.
She said: “The indoor season will include some 3km and 5km races. That will be a new, exciting experience. I have been warned I may have to do some 1500m races as well to help with my speed. I’m not looking forward to that.”
Kayleigh has only been in Wichita Falls since early August but says she is settling in well and has some great team-mates.
“It has been a bit of a challenging transition, adjusting to a new team, coach, school and way of life. But I’ve had so much support from home and from a couple of the girls on the team, so I am slowly getting there.
“The girls are lovely. We all have our little quirks, which is great. We are all different types of runner. I am the only 10km runner on the team, the other girls are 400m, 800m, 1500m or steeplechase. We even have a thrower. Every girl is good at what they do and work extremely hard.
“It’s a very busy lifestyle. I’m always on the go with studying and training. I used to be busy at home but I feel like it’s been ramped up considerably since I got here. It is constant. “
Kayleigh is, however, excited about returning home for Christmas.
She said: “I do miss my friends, family, my home comforts and, of course, Metro. I don’t think there is another club out there like it.
“I am returning to Aberdeen in December for a few weeks. I’m hoping to be considered for the Inter District cross country championships in Edinburgh and I would love to represent the East Region again.”