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Athletics: Banchory Stonehaven’s Alisha Rees aiming even higher after breaking near-50-year-old Scottish 100m record

Alisha Rees, centre.
Alisha Rees, centre.

It may only have taken 11.39 seconds for Alisha Rees to run 100 metres on Sunday, but her performance in Dagenham was the culmination of a lifetime’s work.

Injury problems have curtailed the 23-year-old Banchory Stonehaven athlete for the past few seasons, but after an excellent indoor campaign – which saw her break the Scottish record in the 60m – Rees can now add the Scottish 100m record to her list of achievements.

The previous mark of 11.40sec, set by Helen Golden, had stood since 1974.

Not only has Rees set two Scottish records in little more than two months, she has also now attained the qualification time for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer.

Reacting to what proved to be an explosive first race of the outdoor season, Loughborough University-based Rees, who was coached by Willy Russell at Banchory’s Alexander Park until the age of 18, said: “Now that I have run the Commonwealth standard, I feel like the rest of the season can only go up.

“I’ve opened my season with a Scottish record and a PB – it’s almost like I’ve achieved my goal for the season on May 1.

“I just need to rethink my goals, and almost aim higher. Now that I’ve run well, it’s only going to help me going forward.”

In addition to the Commonwealth Games over the next few months, this year’s calendar also features the World Championships in Oregon and a European Championships in Munich.

Sunday’s performance has opened up a world of possibilities for Rees – but the time wasn’t a surprise.

Current coach Leon Baptiste had clocked her running 11.40sec for 100m in training, so she knew the performance was there.

Part of the problem, Rees admits, was she had been unable to perform when the competitions came round.

“I knew I was in shape, but for me, it was a case of doing it on the day,” Rees said. “Sometimes it really doesn’t go your way and you have to pick yourself up.

“In Dagenham, we had the wind behind us, it was a really well-run competition, and it’s just one of those times when it went right for me on the day. There was no reason why I couldn’t run those times (in the past).”

Banchory Stonehaven’s Alisha Rees has broken a nearly 50-year-old Scottish athletics record.

Rees credits support network for helping her stick with it

Rees credits her training partners in Loughborough for her ability to push through the disappointments – including a serious hamstring injury suffered at the European under-23 Championships in July 2021.

One of her close friends, fellow Scottish record-holder Beth Dobbin, has been part of Rees’s training group since she moved to Loughborough and has been there for both the good times and the bad.

She said: “My whole training group are really supportive of each other.

“Me and Beth Dobbin are really close. I’ll always speak to her about my races and how I’m feeling. She’s been there and done that, she’s an Olympian now, so she’s definitely really helped me.

“If I am at training and it’s going rubbish, I know I can speak to her. We’ve just got a really good team spirit.”

With one race down and a personal best already in the bag, Rees is now looking to the next event – which she hopes will be a run in the relay at the Birmingham Diamond League later this month, with another race at the Loughborough International the following day.

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