Olympic postponement brings hope for Carlow hurdler Molly Scott

Olympic postponement brings hope for Carlow hurdler Molly Scott
Irish athlete Molly Scott during a training session at her home in Carlow while adhering to the guidelines of social distancing set down by the HSE.Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Just to clarify, hurdler Molly Scott has not resorted to clearing equestrian fences as part of her lockdown training program.

“Definitely not,” laughs the Carlow athlete as she sets about explaining how she and Sportsfile photographer Harry Murphy raided the neighbour’s paddock.

Mind you, it wasn’t the first time 21-year old Scott found herself striding over fences which are more commonly associated with horses rather than sprint hurdlers.

“The first-ever hurdle session I did at my club (St Laurence O’Toole), I couldn't get the steps or rhythm right approaching the first hurdle.

“We came home and we found some old jumps in the ditch. They were literally just across from my house. We measured out the hurdle markings and I learned how to get the eight steps before clearing them.

"They were old jumps that we just put together and, thankfully, it all worked out in the end.” 

Indeed, it has. Scott has a personal best of 13.59 over the hurdles, which she clocked at last year’s European U23 championships.

She’s equally proficient on the flat, her 100m best a swift 11.58.

Molly is honest enough to admit that she would not have made the necessary improvements, in either event, to get herself on the plane to Tokyo had the Olympics remained in its original slot.

Postponement brings hope.

“If it was this summer, I definitely wouldn't have qualified. Another year gives me a chance. That's all the motivation in the world that someone needs.”

The third-year IT Carlow law student is spending lockdown at home in Hacketstown and, all things considered, she can’t really complain with her makeshift training set-up.

She has four actual hurdles lined up on a 50-metre stretch of grass, there's a piece of road near the house with a gradual incline that she traverses regularly, while all S&C work is done in the old stable which her mother - and coach - transformed into a gym last year.

“I am very lucky to have weights. If I didn’t have weights, I think I'd be struggling a bit more.

“As well as the gym renovation, mam also bought a really nice coffee machine a couple of months ago.

"So she unintentionally built the little gym and unintentionally bought a coffee machine. I don't know what she knew, but she knew something.”

When not focused on end-of-term exams or assignments, the downtime and clearing of this summer’s competition schedule has enabled Molly to dedicate additional attention to areas of her hurdling and sprinting which might otherwise have been put on the back burner.

“I’m working on the smaller things, trying to get a bit more clarity on different areas that I might have been ignoring or overlooking such as my hurdle technique or a certain lift in the gym. I'm also working on single-leg strength to make me faster.

“Even if there wasn't a competition for two years, I still think I'd be motivated to get up and train. I really do love training.”

Of course, there have been days where she just hasn’t been feeling it. Days where she’s decided to do nothing more than watch a bit of Netflix. And that’s perfectly okay.

As her physio Declan Monaghan said to her, we are in the midst of a pandemic, not a productivity contest.

Just do what you can. I really do not judge my life against other people's Instagram accounts because I know how unrealistic it can be at times.

“[Author] Brad Stulberg said, you don't have to feel good to get moving, but when you get moving, you feel good.

"So even if you feel horrible and you feel tired, if you go out for a walk or do some training, you automatically feel better after you've done it, even if you had to drag yourself out of your house to do it.”

A motto to live by.

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