Inverness teenager set to compete in Laser Run at 2021 School Games in Loughborough
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Grace MacDonald is aiming to be on target for success when she takes on top youth athletes from across the UK in Laser Run.
The Inverness teenager has qualified to compete at the 2021 School Games which take place at Loughborough next week.
Laser Run is the final event in the modern pentathlon that involves alternating between running laps and shooting, but is also a sport in its own right.
The Millburn Academy fourth year pupil will be competing in the individual event on Friday and in the team event for the Scottish team Saltires next Sunday.
MacDonald (15) says she is new to the event and is looking forward to the experience of taking part at Loughborough, whatever the result.
But she hopes she can use next week's performance as a benchmark in what she can aim for in Laser Run in the future.
"I had to qualify for the event and that was the first time I have competed in laser run," she said.
"Because this is the first big event I will take part in, I don't have much idea of what I am up against.
"I just want to go and enjoy it and then maybe in the next competition, I can set a goal based on what happens at Loughborough."
MacDonald travels from Inverness to Aberdeen twice a week where she trains in running and shooting and is a member of Aberdeen Athletics Club.
She is also a member of Inverness Harriers and Inverness Gymnastics and has competed at national level in 800 metres and 1500 metres.
But when she competes in athletics, she represents both Aberdeen AC and Inverness Harriers.
MacDonald feels she is improving as a runner, but it is her shooting skills where going the extra miles to train is really benefitting her for next week's competition.
"I have been doing athletics and gymnastics since the age of the six," she said.
"The gymnastics helps with my running which I had already been training with anyway.
"All I had to do is learn to shoot to prepare for Laser Run and I travel to Aberdeen twice a week for my running and now do my shooting as well.
"I have been given equipment to practice with at home, but as there is no team in Inverness all my shooting training is done in Aberdeen."
Laser Run, which involves alternating running and shooting a laser pistol at targets from a distance of 10 metres away, are two of five events in the modern pentathlon which also includes equestrian, fencing and swimming.
But MacDonald says she is just looking to concentrate on the running and shooting aspect of the sport with no ambition of competing in modern pentathlon in the future.
"I have never done fencing or horse riding," she said.
"I will probably stick to running and i'm looking forward to competing in Laser Run next week."
MacDonald will also be competing at the GB Laser Run Championships in Solihull on September 19.