BASC recently caught up with Beth Dobbin, who is making her presence felt on the track this season. In our interview she spills the beans about her Scottish record over 200m, how she competes while dealing with epilepsy, and what she hopes to achieve this season...
BASC: How did you get started in athletics?
Beth Dobbin: I began going on runs with my dad when I was about 10, we'd run for quite a distance. I started entering fun runs and cross country runs and always did quite well. Then when I moved to secondary school my P.E. teacher noticed that I was quite quick as well. I was beating the boys over the sprints in P.E., so I asked my dad to take me down to the local athletics track and he did.
BASC: Who were your athletics heroes as a child?
BD: I always remember looking up to Alyson Felix as she was so graceful on the track and just ran so effortlessly. I also really admire Jessica Ennis-Hill as I was amazed by how well she coped with the pressure of London 2012 being the poster girl and everyone was hanging the gold medal around her neck before the championships even began.
BASC: Which current athletes do you look up to?
BD: At present my favourite athlete is Shaunae Miller-Uibo as she is tearing it up over both the 200m and 400m and again looks so effortless when she runs. I think she is a huge natural talent.
BASC: Which achievement so far in your athletics career makes you most proud?
BD: I would say my recent Scottish record is my most proud achievement so far, especially with how long the record previously stood for and how it has made my family proud too.
BASC: Did you realise you'd broken the Scottish 200m record straight after your race in Eton or did someone tell you? What was your initial reaction to the news?
BD: I realised pretty much straight away that I'd broken the Scottish record as I was very aware of Sandra's 22.98 mark. The first thought that went through my mind was “WOW!! you've gone sub-23” then the second thought was “You've broken the Scottish record!!”.
BASC: What would you like to achieve by the end of the current outdoor season?
BD: I would like to do well at trials and book my place on the plane to Berlin. I would also like to try and get my time down even further and potentially do some 400's later in the season.
BASC: How do you manage to juggle full time work and focus on furthering your athletics career? It must be very difficult without the help of sponsorship.
BD: Working full time alongside training is tremendously tough as we want to train like full time athletes, so it is hard to have a balance. I just try to get super organised by cooking my meals the night before so that I can eat healthily at work and then when I get in late from training my dinner is already prepared. I struggle with the lack of sleep as I must be up at 6am for work and often don't get in from the track until 8/9pm so I feel tired a lot. This also doesn't leave any time for 'down-time' so I often feel like I don't have any time for myself to relax and switch off.
BASC: You've recently spoken about your epilepsy and how it affected you as a child, what measures do you have to take to ensure it doesn't impede your career in athletics?
BD: So as a teenager it was quite difficult as I was on a lot of medication, so it was hard to do well in my athletics as I was always so tired and slept for about 14 hours a day. Luckily in my late teens I was able to come off my medication and my athletics started going much better. When I came off my medication I ensured I lived an extremely healthy lifestyle by eating well, trying not to get too stressed out and trying to get enough sleep (which is often the most difficult part). I also try not to overdo it in the little free time I do have. I try to relax rather than make too many plans as this can get very tiring. I also avoid alcohol as this can lower your tolerance for seizures.
BASC: Do you hope by telling your story that it can inspire youngsters who'd like a career in sport, but worry epilepsy may stop them from doing so?
BD: I hope my story can inspire youngsters as I was inspired by Dai Greene who I remember doing something like myself a few years ago which helped me. I do however understand that there are many different forms of epilepsy and unfortunately not everyone's seizures can be controlled. I also hope my story can inspire anyone who has faced adversity whatever that is with to just be patient and not give up on your dreams.
BASC: How do you relax away from the track and work? Do you like watching any other sports or do you prefer to focus on something away from sport altogether?
BD: I don't really have too much time to relax but I do make sure I have time to call my family and close friends as that's something I really enjoy doing. I don't tend to watch too many other sports except from athletics, but this is purely a lack of time thing.
BASC: If you could only use 3 words to describe yourself, which would you choose?
BD: Honest, loyal and trustworthy.
BASC: What's your favourite "cheat treat"?
BD: 100% chocolate!! It is my favourite food and I eat it every day on off season.