Sprinter Zoey Clark heads off to the South African university town of Stellenbosch early in the new year to begin her countdown towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 25-year-old Aberdeen AAC runner is looking forward to enjoying some warm sunshine to give her winter training a welcome boost.
She said: “I’ll be there for three weeks and the weather should be fine. I went to Florida last year and it snowed, so hopefully I won’t get a repeat of that.”
The 25-year-old hopes to secure one of three Great Britain team places available in the individual 400m for Tokyo as well as featuring in the women’s and mixed 4x400m relay teams.
Clark is well placed to fulfill her ambition, having been a key member of the highly successful GB relay squads over the past few seasons.
She picked up her fourth major senior championships medal in March when collecting 4x400m silver at the European indoors in Glasgow.
She also won world outdoor silver at London (2017), world indoor bronze at Birmingham (2018) and European outdoor bronze at Berlin (2018).
Despite that fine record, Clark is taking absolutely nothing for granted and knows there’s a lot of hard work to be done in her quest for selection.
She said: “The goal is to get an individual 400m place and I’m obviously keen to be involved in the relays again.
“But it will be difficult and selection is probably harder than it’s been before. The qualifying mark for the 400m is slightly faster than my personal best of 51.36secs, but I feel it’s achievable.
“It’s a case of who is running well at the time. Obviously I have run for the team quite a few times over the past few years so I have cemented myself in the squad, but I’ll still have to show form.
“It will come down to the trials. If you want to be on the team you have to do well enough when it matters.”
Clark has two bites of the cherry when it comes to the relays as Great Britain will be represented not only in the women’s race but also in the mixed event to be held for at the Olympics for the first time.
The Aberdeen woman competed in both events at this year’s world championships in Doha, finishing fourth in each.
She said: “I really enjoyed the mixed relay in Doha and I’d like to put myself forward for that again. It’s another opportunity to race at the Olympic Games.
“The women’s relay team also did well in Doha, even though we were fourth. It’s disappointing to have been so close to a medal but the time we ran was quicker than that recorded by the bronze medallists at the 2016 Olympics.
“So, we can be proud of our performance and it sets us up nicely for 2020.”