Championship medals and Scotland international vests are high on Struan Linton’s wish list for the year ahead.
The 20-year-old Aberdeen AAC sprinter doesn’t lack confidence, but his ambitions are not in any way unrealistic if he can build on the form he showed in the opening indoor meeting of the season at Aberdeen Sports Village.
Linton flew down the track to clock an impressive personal best of 6.97secs in the first of two 60m heats. Only two Scots ran faster last winter and it’s the joint third fastest of all-time by an Aberdeen AAC member.
He followed that by clocking 7.01 in his second outing later in the day, which is the second quickest he has achieved.
He said: “I’m more than happy with that.
“In the first race of the season you just want to find out where you’re at. So, it shows my training is going well.
“Breaking seven secs is massive, as not many people do that. But there’s a lot more in the tank.”
“I’ll compete in the next indoor meeting here in January, but I’ll be going to Glasgow for the Scottish championships when the focus will be on the 200m.
“I’ve never done a 200m indoors, so it will be interesting to see what I can do – especially after running so fast over 60m.”
“I’m focusing on being as well prepared as possible and I’ll just take things as they come.
“I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be competing with the very best. I always aim to do my best whoever I’m competing against.”
Linton trains under the guidance of Eddie McKenna at Aberdeen Sports Village and is full of praise for the experienced coach and his group.
He said: “I have a great relationship with Eddie and it’s a privilege to benefit from his knowledge and experience.
“Everyone in the group spurs each other along. We keep our heads down, work hard and let our performances on the track do our talking.”
Linton is also looking beyond the indoor campaign with his sights set on more improvement over the course of the summer season.
Last August he finished fifth in both the 100m and 200m at the Scottish senior championships, setting respective personal best times of 11.00secs and 22.14.
These are marks he aims adjust significantly.
He said: “I completely believe what I did last season is just the start and that I can do something special for myself.
“The goal is always to be number one. That’s how I try to be in everything I do.
“Obviously, there’s some very good guys ahead of me at the moment, but I never let that get into my head, otherwise there would be no point in competing. I have always had belief in myself and I know what I can do.
“I want to be up among the best in the Scottish championships and I’ll be trying to be in the top three, which is a tough thing to do.”
International honours are also in Linton’s thoughts for the future.
He said: “Running for Scotland is 100% my objective.
“I had a taster three years ago when I competed for a Scotland Development Team at the Celtic Nations international and that was great.
“But I want to run for the full team.”
Linton dedicates win to Aberdeen AAC stalwart Marie Dobson
Aberdeen AAC’s Struan Linton dedicated his opening sprint wins of the indoor season to clubmate Marie Dobson, who passed away last week after a long and courageous battle against secondary breast cancer.
The atmosphere at Aberdeen Sports Village for the open graded meeting was subdued as athletes came to terms with the loss of one of the north-east’s most popular athletes.
Linton said: “Marie was a massive part of the club and everyone loved her. There’s quite a few people feeling down at the moment as it’s a huge loss.
“Marie was the most positive and inspiring person I’ve met. She didn’t let the cancer affect her attitude, despite the situation she was in.
“I had some mental health issues during the pandemic and she was always very encouraging and helpful any time I saw her at the track, despite what she was going through herself.”
Marie was for many years a stalwart of Aberdeen AAC’s women’s track and field team, competing in a wide variety of events.
She enjoyed notable success at national level, striking silver in the 400m at the 2011 Scottish indoor championships and the following year took bronze in the 400m hurdles at the outdoor championships.
She also won the Northern Ireland and Ulster 400m title at Belfast in 2013.
But, while performances are undoubtedly important, it’s personality which really matters and it was Marie’s unbridled enthusiasm and zest for life which endeared her to so many.
This shone through even in the darkest of days and rubbed off on everyone fortunate enough to enjoy her company.
Despite enduring years of treatment, often painful, she remained hugely upbeat and inspired countless numbers of people within and well beyond the athletics community.