Bedfordshire athlete turned professional, Rachel Doherty is on her way to realising her dream of becoming one of the UK’s top athletes.
Just weeks after being gripped by Team GB’s performance at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, Rachel has embarked on her own journey to sporting glory.
She works on the reception desk at Colworth Park near Sharnbrook - but initially joined the company as a fitness instructor in the on-site gym.
This month 27-year-old Rachel reduced her hours to start her funded athletics training.
She has already shown great potential as an athlete, with her times close to those qualifying for the England team.
Rachel said: “I’ve been running since the age of nine, my parents got me to run around a field to run off some excess energy and I was spotted by an athletics coach, who invited me along to a training session.
“Paula Radcliffe has always been a huge inspiration for me, I used to run for Bedford and County with the same coach she had as a youngster.”
Rachel’s training is focused on long distance road running over 5km and 10km distance, with her ambition initially to qualify to represent England.
Her ultimate aim is to be part of Team GB, or just the best she can be.
“England athletics have been keeping an eye on my UK rankings. Now my times are close to qualification they are keen to help with my progression,” Rachel said
“With my current times, I am really close to representing England, so ideally I’d like to achieve that and see where it takes me.
“The best thing so far has been spending more time doing what I enjoy the most and that is a real passion. Nothing beats an early run while the sun is rising. It’s the best time of day.
“It would be an all time goal to be part of Team GB, it would be an honour and such a personal achievement.
“Representing my country at Tokyo 2020 does seem quite soon, but never say never.”
Her race timings are currently 17.03 minutes for 5km and 35.18 minutes over 10k.
The qualification times she needs are 16.40 for 5km and 34.30 for the 10k distance.
The training will help Rachel to reach that target.
Nicky Massey, conference and events manager at Colworth Park, said: “This is a great opportunity and we support Rachel 100 per cent and wish her every success.”