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Move paying off for Inglis

Runner arrived in Langley from Scotland two years ago in hopes of resurrecting her racing career
Sarah Inglis came from Scotland to Langley to resurrect her running career. The 24-year-old masters student was ready to abandon her hopes of running professionally and concentrate on her teaching career instead. Now she could potentially compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.


That is how Trinity Western Spartans director of endurance Mark Bomba describes Sarah Inglis.

“She is kind of fearless in how she runs,” he explained.

“Sarah will take a lot of chances with her running.”

So fearless is a fitting description for the 24-year-old.

Two years ago, Inglis left all her family and friends — and a full-time teaching job — to come to Langley to give her running career a second chance.

Inglis grew up in Falkirk, a town in the Central Lowlands of Scotland.

She first tried her hand at highland dancing, a style of competitive dancing developed in the Scottish Highlands.

“I tried highland dancing and I was rubbish,” she said with a laugh.

“After my first competition, I  was like ‘I’m terrible at this.’”

So Inglis, along with her brother and sister — they are triplets — joined a local running club.

She ran a few races, picking up some first and second place finishes immediately.

In high school, she began taking the sport more seriously, and she really took off at the university level.

Studying at the University of Edinburgh, Inglis made Great Britain’s national junior team as an 18-year-old for the 2010 IAAF world cross country championships.

And while she placed well off the podium — 56th in the world to be exact — the experience whet her appetite for more.

Inglis would graduate from university with her teaching degree and began working full-time as a PE teacher. But athletic success was slipping away.

She contemplated quitting the sport, at least as a competitive runner, and just running socially instead.

While Inglis had been in university, she had been in touch with former Trinity Western Spartans coach Laurier Primeau, who offered her an opportunity to come to Langley and join the track and cross-country teams.

Primeau had met Inglis through some camps.

But finishing her degree was the first goal.

“I told him to give me a year and if I was still interested, I would get in touch,” she explained.

And she did just that.

“You always have those bad races where you question yourself; where it feels like you aren’t improving,” she said.

“And I have always wanted to come across to North America and compete. I just thought this was my chance before I got a full-time job. I might as well travel while I still can.”

After visiting Langley and the TWU campus and meeting with the Spartan coaches, Inglis liked what she saw and arrived in the fall of 2013.

She is completing her masters in education and leadership.

“You could tell she was talented, but it was trying to take some things she had done wrong in her training previously and was lacking a little bit and add some components to it,” Bomba said.

“We slowly did that and we found out she was pretty darn talented.”

Even still, that first year was not without challenges.

At the 2013 CIS cross-country championships, Inglis was one of the favourites having won two of the three races heading in. She wound up 29th.

Even more disappointing for her was the fact had she placed anywhere in the top 10, the Spartans team would have found the podium.

After a few days of self-doubt and disappointment, Inglis was determined to move forward.

The season then switched to track in the spring and she was once again one of the favourites at CIS nationals, this time in the 3000m race.

She wound up 11th, more than 30 seconds off her personal best. But it didn’t take long for Inglis to shake off that result as less than 24 hours later, she captured gold in the 1500m race.

And that success in the spring of 2014 continued to last fall.

Inglis placed fifth at the 2014 CIS cross-country championships, and then at the 2015 CIS track and field championships, she won bronze in the 3000m race.

“She is just starting to scrape her potential. Her improvement from the first year to this past year has been pretty outstanding,” Bomba said.

And Inglis has had a positive effect on her teammates as well, the coach said.

Fiona Benson — who graduated last spring — represented Canada back in August at the IAAF world track and field championships in the 800m event.

“I would argue that one of the biggest reasons for Fiona’s breakthrough this year was actually due in a  large part to Sarah in what she brings to the table as a training partner,” Bomba said.

Inglis loves her teammates and atmosphere they have created.

“There is not a day I have to go and run by myself; there is always someone who wants to go. We are competitive, but we also push each other.

“That’s what I enjoy the most. The team banter that we have, it is good fun.”

Bomba said he has had discussions with Inglis about competing at the 2016 Olympics.

Her best bets to qualify for Great Britain would be either the steeplechase or 10,000m, the coach figures.