Two-time national indoor champion Megan Marrs is spoiling to make her Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham this summer writes Alec McQuarrie.
The Loughborough-based hurdler claimed gold at the British Indoor Championships either side of the pandemic in 2018 and 2022 over the 60m distance.
The 24-year-old is looking to follow in the footsteps of her parents who both competed as international athletes.
And the Team Northern Ireland athlete says that she can’t wait to get started and show what she can do on the big stage.
She said: “It’s very exciting, a little bit nervous. It’s going to be new and really exciting.
“I’ve been to a few majors before so the actual athletics side of it, I’ve done before, seen it before – it’s more the village aspect and everything that comes with it.
“When I started the sport in 2011, 2012, you were looking up at the athletes who had been in Delhi and who were going to Glasgow and thinking that’s what I want to be doing.
“I want to be representing Northern Ireland at that level so to finally reach it after 10 years feels pretty good.
“A lot of people say Commonwealths is a really good stepping stone for things like the Olympics, which would be the same but on a completely global level.
“They do say it’s completely different to the championships within athletics because you do have the other sports, usually a longer programme. I can’t wait.”
This summer, Team Northern Ireland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will compromise over 100 athletes, and having secured her place on the squad, Marrs is looking for medal success.
Marrs, who started out at Lisburn AC, has been supported throughout her career by her sporty family, especially her mother Debbie who was a British high jump champion in 1988.
Marrs said: “It definitely runs in the family. I was never pushed into sport, I took up athletics reasonably late – I was about 14 when I decided that was really the sport I wanted to do.
“Growing up on and around the track, I tried all different sports but athletics was the one I was most comfortable with and I enjoyed the most.
“I didn’t start off in the hurdles. My mum was a high jumper, my dad did the 100m.
“I actually started off as a high jumper and then slowly realised actually I was quite fast and we put me on the track.
“Coming from a ballet background, people from ballet usually have the right attributes to go into hurdles so we just tried it out one day and never really went back.
“I came through the pathways of the UK School Games, and the Schools International at Under-17 age level.
“I won both of those and then it wasn’t until 2018 and I won my first British title that I was like ‘this could be a path that we really go down.’”
With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Marrs hopes sharing her story will give others motivation to get involved in sport and turn their dreams into reality.
Marrs counts current Northern Irish legend Mary Peters and Australia’s Sally Pearson as role models, but she is not getting carried away with her aspirations for this summer.
“My aim is definitely to run a personal best. I think competitions like this, you always want to go there in the best shape you’ve ever been in.
“If that’s good enough to make the final, then obviously I’d be over the moon with that.
“I was only a few hundredths off last year, so if we could do it in Birmingham, that would be great.”
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