Speedy genes: Manchester runner McAslan says family past keeps her on track

Racing runs in the family for Manchester’s Kirsten McAslan who is determined to better her mother’s athletic achievements, starting with a winning performance at this weekend’s BUCS Nationals.

The last 12 months have been more than memorable for 21-year-old McAslan, who is coming off the back of representing Scotland in the 4x400m relay in Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games last summer.

That feat brought the family full circle with McAslan’s mother Fiona having also turned out in a home Games when she competed in the 400m at Edinburgh 1986.

But, while the 21-year-old biochemistry student acknowledges her mother’s influence she denies that it adds to the pressure of competing.

“I think it spurs me on if anything,” former Sale Harrier McAslan said.

“My mum stopped racing early through injury and went on to become a doctor. I think she feels like she never fully fulfilled her potential so that encourages me to carry on with my career and really achieve my goals.

“It’s really nice to be able to have a good session on the track and know that I can talk to her about it and she understands what I’m going through.”

It’s been a difficult few years the Bath University student who has missed the last two indoor seasons with a lingering stress fracture to her foot.  

But recovering in time to get introduced to a jam-packed Hampden Park crowd on the first leg of the Commonwealth relay was certainly a reward for her perseverance.

McAslan’s team finished fourth in their heat, just missing out on qualification for the final, but she is keen to put that experience behind her and focus on what lies ahead in 2015.

And she says she can’t wait to compete in her first BUCS Nationals after she claimed 400m glory in the outdoor tournament during her first year at university.

“First up I’ve got my first indoor BUCS Nationals which I’m really looking forward to,” she added.

“It’s a tough competition because you have to try not to get tired over consecutive days of competing and the standard is high.

“But I’m confident I can do well, I’m in a good frame of mind and hopefully I can get better and better as the competition goes on.

“My main aim is to compete at the European under- 23 Championships in Estonia in July. Anything beyond that is a bonus.

“I suppose Rio 2016 is in the back of my mind but I know I will have to improve a lot if I want to get out there.”

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, representing more than 150 institutions. Covering 52 sports BUCS aids grass roots participation through to supporting aspiring elite athletes on en route to Commonwealth or Olympic Games

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