Multi-talented Erin Wallace is excelling across three disciplines in relation to her triathlon talent, writes Emily Moss
Having broken the UK under-17 indoor 800m record with 2:06.59 earlier this year, Scottish athlete Erin Wallace has her sights set on the European Youth Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The 16-year-old has started 2016 in fine form, having also set Scottish indoor records over 1500m and 3000m with 4:25.75 and 9:36.07, which placed her second and third all-time in the UK for the respective distances and top of the national rankings for 2016.
Having raced mainly 1500m last year, the Giffnock North athlete was particularly pleased to improve her time before the start of this year’s outdoor season.
“I was really shocked to set the Scottish 1500m record, as it had been standing for so long,” she said. “I didn’t even consider it beforehand and I only found out what it was about an hour before the race.
“I did not expect such a big PB and I would have been happy with any kind of PB or close to it. I would like to thank the pacer Mark Pollard, who kept it evenly paced even though I kept clipping his heels.”
Her aim was also to go closer to 4:20 for 1500m outdoors, a goal which she has already achieved as she clocked a 4:20.63 PB to go five seconds inside the qualifying standard for Tbilisi at the BMC meet in Watford in May.
Erin has also enjoyed success in cross country too, having won Scottish titles in 2014 and 2015. “Alongside my British indoor 800m record, I would consider winning the Scottish national cross country in 2014 to be one of my biggest achievements, because the previous three years, the pressure of potentially winning had got to me so I didn’t race so well,” she said. “In 2014, I had that pressure again but I didn’t let it get to me.
“Also, I was third in the SIAB cross country in 2015. That was a complete surprise and I didn’t expect to medal against so many fast girls!”
Indeed, the Dudley Walker-coached athlete has represented Scotland in the SIAB Schools International and Celtic nations races for both track and cross country.
What is perhaps more impressive is that Erin does not even necessarily consider athletics to be her main sport, for the versatile youngster is also a GB triathlete, having represented her country at the 2015 European Youth Relay Championships in Banyoles, Spain. “That is definitely my biggest sporting achievement so far,” she said. “It was just completely unexpected.”
She started out doing aquathlons, which comprise running and swimming and moved into triathlon at the age of 10. She is now in the Triathlon Scotland foundation squad. Erin feels that swimming and biking complement her running well.
She said: “The training involves a lot of distance swimming and biking, although my training is maybe lacking some biking miles. I think swimming really helps my endurance and cycling helps with endurance and strength. I think they both also take the impact from the ground away, preventing more injuries. I would love to continue both sports side by side, as I think they help each other and work well together.”
For her athletics training, Erin trains on Sundays in the park and also on Tuesdays and Thursdays, mainly alongside other under-17 athletes. She said: “Giffnock also has a conditioning class every Wednesday, led by Robert Fairfield.” Add to that the fact that she used to play netball and football and also do dancing and Erin certainly cannot be criticised for specialising too early in one sport.
Coming from a family of swimmers, where her dad still swims competitively, swimming was Erin’s first sport, hence her entry into triathlon before athletics.
She says the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow did more than just whet her appetite for athletics, as she even managed to get a selfie with the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt.
“The atmosphere in Glasgow was amazing and watching all the different sports so close to home was really good!” said Erin, who carried the Commonwealth baton in her home town. “We only got the tickets to go to the session containing Usain Bolt about an hour before and everyone was going crazy when he came so close. We were lucky, as he took my friend’s phone to take a picture and it ended up on a BBC article somewhere.”
Judging by how much she has improved already this year, it is of little surprise that Erin is hoping one day that rather than just being there to take photographs she can be participating in the Commonwealth Games herself.
You can find further performance stats on Erin on Power of 10 here.
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