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Ultra Runner Meryl Cooper returns to Aberdeenshire

By Rachael Glennie

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Ultra runner Meryl Cooper has returned to her fathers farm in Oldmeldrum after having recently been working and training in Gran Canaria and Dubai for the last six years.

Ultra Runner Meryl Cooper has returned to Oldmeldrum after working in Gran Canaria as a PE Teacher
Ultra Runner Meryl Cooper has returned to Oldmeldrum after working in Gran Canaria as a PE Teacher

Meryl grew up in Aberdeenshire and has always loved being active and now runs ultra-trail distances of 60 to 100k and one of her biggest achievements was representing Great Britain at the Trail World Championships in 2019.

Commenting on her decision to return Meryl said:“When Spain locked down mid March for its initial two weeks and one week in it was obvious that it was only going to get extended I wanted to fly before it was no longer possible, I really wanted to be closer to my family at this time.

“I self isolated for two weeks after landing before heading to stay with my family.”

Prior to her return, Meryl's love for sport developed into a career as a PE teacher while she was living in Spain.

“It is nearly confirmed that Spanish schools are not going back until September, so then I do not have to go back in any immediate rush." she said.

“Being back in Aberdeenshire will only affect one or two training sessions a week.

“In Gran Canaria I was able to spend long days in high mountains so that’s the main difference.

“The other thing is I need to carry a few more layers of clothing here!”.

As ultra running events can be all year round and worldwide, when asked what impact Covid-19 had on her year, Meryl said: “Covid-19 has cancelled all my races so far.

“I thought I would be more frustrated with having no races but I haven’t been that bothered as I love learning and improving in my sport which yes, you can do through racing but you can also do through training, listening to podcasts, virtual races and spending some of the additional time we have improving weaker areas.

“Training wise, we all know that consistency is key to success and I look forward to a long spell of this.

“Being still a relatively new runner I can really benefit from a long block of training like this I believe."

Meyrl said coming home to Aberdeenshire wasn't quite as easy as she thought: “I was actually quite upset coming back, as I was just setting up my life on Gran Canaria.

“I had bought a camper van just a week before lock down and was looking forward to weekends in the mountains training and then relaxing after in the sun!

“Plus the whole pandemic situation was so alarming and uncertain, but I really knew I wanted to be closer to home and my family and to be able to help them in some way.

“My plans for the future are absolutely to keep training and to keep competing!

"I aspire to be selected for Great Britain again for ultra-trail running.

“I hope that with much more experience training on hills and the mountains, I can be more competitive in the international races I compete in and keep moving up the world rankings as a trail runner!”

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