A NORTHALLERTON runner who beat Mo Farah to qualify for the Olympics says he is ‘honoured’ to represent the town on the world stage.
Marc Scott finished 0.7seconds clear of Mo Farah and posted the best domestic performance in the European 10,000m Cup in Birmingham last Saturday.
It means the former Northallerton Sixth Form student has secured his place on Team GB for this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
And although Mr Scott moved to the United States when he was 18 to pursue his athletic ambitions, he still regards Northallerton as his home and said he couldn’t be prouder to fly the flag for North Yorkshire at the Olympics.
He said: “It definitely means a lot.
“I’m glad I didn’t lose the (Yorkshire) accent in America and I don’t plan on doing so.
“It’s a great honour to represent Northallerton and the whole of Yorkshire.
“I know there’s a huge tradition of Olympic athletes from Yorkshire, the medal table outlines how well as a county we do and it is great.”
Marc Scott crossing the line at the British 10,000m Championships in Birmingham Picture: PA
Mr Scott, who has been staying with his parents in Northallerton whilst competing in the UK, remains a member of the Richmond and Zetland Harriers - a club he joined when he was just a ten-year-old schoolboy with Olympic dreams.
And he had some words of encouragement for other youngsters who have their sights set on competing at the highest level.
He said: “I think it’s that you don’t necessarily have to be the best at a young age, because I definitely wasn’t, it is more about having belief in yourself and being dedicated to the sport.
“There were days when I didn’t want to go out and run but I just went out and got it done.
“I wanted to go to the Olympics and I didn’t know if it was going to be a reality at all, but I just kept making steps to get there.
“Just keep pursuing your dreams.”
Mr Scott will return to America to prepare for the Olympics but says he is enjoying being back in Northallerton and running round the training routes of his childhood.
He said: “I’m only home for a couple of weeks and it’s nice to come back and run round the streets of Northallerton and the county roads - I do miss home.”
He says he feels confident ahead of the Tokyo Games and hopes to compete in both the 10,000 and 5,000 races.
And the 27-year-old’s confidence was certainly boosted by beating Mo Farrah last weekend.
He said: “I set out with the intention that I was going to beat him, I am not going to set my sights short and go in thinking ‘I am going to be second today’ - it isn’t how I do things.
“It was a great feeling; he has not been beaten by another Brit in ten years in the 10,000, so obviously it is a great scalp to take and gives me a bit more confidence going forward.
“He isn’t on his A-game at the moment (due to injury problems) but Mo Farrah is Mo Farrah.”
The Mayor of Northallerton, Cllr Phil Eames, wished Mr Scott every success at the Olympics and said: “I’m sure the whole of Northallerton is very proud of Marc’s achievements and I know that everyone will be cheering him on in Tokyo.”