SARAH INGLIS had a hunch that waving farewell to her pupils might allow her to move up a class. To school herself better in the disciplines of distance running without the diversion of planning lessons or sculpting impressionable minds.
The Scot had effectively emigrated to Canada several years ago when a scholarship to a university in British Columbia led to a job offer as a teacher with a sporting side gig.
An imperfect solution to the complexities of carving out an athletics career without the comfort blanket of Lottery funding.
An amateur in spirit, if not approach. “Teaching kids all day is tiring,” the 30-year-old grins. Another offer to change countries came out of left field last winter. To criss-cross the continent, this time to North Carolina, to join a small programme supported from the marketing budgets of apparel giant Puma.
A potential game changer, she sensed. Gleefully accepted, bags packed as soon as a substitute could be drafted in. “I just needed to change my training group,” she acknowledges. “And this came opportunity came up. We have a couple of other British athletes in the team. Aussies as well. It's quite international, and I'm loving it so far.
“Who wouldn’t? I've been working two jobs in Canada, and now running is my full-time job for the first time, at the age of 30. This is finally my chance to really go for it and get everything I need in order.”
The results have borne out the theorem. Inglis goes into this evening’s women’s 5000 metres at the British Championships in Manchester requiring only a top two finish to secure a spot at next month’s world championships in Eugene. The state of Oregon is a happy hunting ground. Last month, she demolished her personal best there with a time of 15:05.51 that was inside UK Athletics qualifying standard.
Fellow Scot Eilish McColgan – a certain selection should she wish to double up – is absent through illness. That cuts Inglis’ odds of gold or silver. Finishing fourth in the recent 10,000m trials opened additional doors for the worlds and a European Championships which follows the Commonwealth Games for which she will be confirmed in Scotland’s squad next week.
“Some people will decide to do different ones or might drop out,” she notes.
“There’s choices to be made. So I'll be there is to take whatever I can get and I’ll do what I can to be prepared for that level.”