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Running late for work is literally never going to be a problem for Lewis Pentecost as the apprentice electrician is on track to become one of Scotland’s top athletes.

Having started his apprenticeship at the Inchyra Depot last September, the 18-year-old juggles college work with on the job training and an intensive training schedule that sees him run six days a week.

Competing in cross country during the winter months and the steeplechase in spring and summer, Lewis currently clears 28 barriers and seven water jumps over 2000m in six minutes.

His natural flare for steeplechase also resulted in an invitation to compete for Scottish Universities last month. After a sprint finish that saw the top five competitors cross the line just 1.5 seconds apart, he took fourth place.

He said: “I had considered going to study at Stirling University but decided on the apprenticeship as you get a wage and finish with a trade after four years. Because I also have to go to college, I still get the same opportunities to compete at a high level as I would if I’d gone to uni. I was one of only 40 athletes selected to run for Scottish Universities over in Northern Ireland in May. It was a great experience but my ultimate goal is to get into Scotland’s Commonwealth Games 2022 team and compete in Birmingham.”

An all-round sportsman as a youngster, Lewis began running with his twin brother, Harris - also an apprentice electrician - and their dad, John, in their early teens, running  every Saturday at the local 5km parkrun.

With a clear talent for running, he joined Falkirk Victoria Harriers five years ago and his dad became his coach. For some, having your dad tell you what to do from the side-lines would be their worst nightmare, but for Lewis it’s a real plus.

“My dad was a really good runner when he was younger and competed in the steeplechase too so he knows what he is talking about,” he said. “There’s a really good atmosphere in the house when I’ve won and if I’ve had a bad race he’s there to talk it over with me and that’s really helpful.” 

It’s not all been plain sailing for the athlete, who felt “demoralised” after having to take a month out following an operation to remove his tonsils last December. Two months of gruelling training then ensued to get him back into competitive shape.

But the love of training and a desire to win kept Lewis focused. The training and routine also keeps him mentally as well as physically strong.

He said: “I train mornings and nights from home and on the track. It’s hard but running gives you time to think and work out any worries you might have. It’s also a bonus working so close to Grangemouth Stadium. Once the new shower facilities are put in at the depot this year it’ll be even easier to fit in training around my apprenticeship.”

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If reading Lewis' story has made you want to experience the physical and mental health benefits of running there's lots of free support and opportunities available to help you get started, including: 

  • NHS C25km - a easy to follow running plan for total beginners 
  • jogscotland - fun, friendly jogging groups that are perfect for people who want to get active for the first time, or more experienced runners who want to exercise in a sociable, supportive environment.There's lot of local groups to choose from. 
  • parkrun - a friendly 5km run open to all abilities held every Saturday in Callendar Park. There's also a 2km junior parkrun you can enjoy with your children every Sunday at the Helix