Until the coronavirus outbreak I had been training hard ahead of the 2020 Paralympics in Japan, aiming to win gold for Team GB in the 100 and 200 metres in the T35 category.

As the situation worsened, it became increasingly likely the Olympic and Paralympic Games could not go ahead and this week we got confirmation that Tokyo 2020 has been postponed until summer 2021. It was the correct decision with everyone’s best interests at heart.

I was expecting it to be postponed and it wasn’t a big shock, but it is still a disappointment because I was feeling good at training and I was looking forward to testing myself at the highest level again after winning two gold medals last November in the World Championships in Dubai.

The 2019 World Championships were special for me. The previous year I had been really struggling with my mental health and had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and I had started medication, so to come through that and make my situation better was a huge triumph for me personally.

During the 2019 season I started to enjoy life and to enjoy competing again. To get myself back to feeling well again, with the help of those around me, was my biggest achievement, and it allowed me to actually enjoy the Championships instead of being full of dread and anxiety.

So Tokyo was something I was looking forward to enormously.

A few weeks ago everything was so normal, but now there has been this sudden change in everyone’s routine and how we live our lives. Nothing is the same and it is hard being away from people, including my partner.

All of my training had been geared towards peaking in Tokyo, so I have to stay motivated, despite now not having a definite date to aim at.

My coach Jamie Bowie had outlined the plan for the year which now has to be completely scrapped, so we are in the middle of changing that. Despite all the uncertainty we are trying to change the training to be as normal as it can be under the circumstances.  Me and my coach have been messaging every day and staying focused. We have been doing Facebook Live sessions, like yoga, with the rest of the training group. It’s nice to feel that we are together, doing the same sessions, even if we are not in the same room.

I’m quite lucky as a runner, as I can do my running anywhere. I’ve got a grass track which is a minute’s walk from my house in Dunbar. I’m lucky in that we planned for this possibly happening and prepared the best we could, so we have taken some gym equipment which allows me to do some training.

You just have to make the most out of a bad situation. I’m quite lucky with the sport I do in that I can do it pretty much anywhere, where other athletes might not be so lucky.

For me, being used to discipline, it has helped me make the most of my day. With something like this it is probably easy to lapse into sitting around and not doing as much. For me personally, that’s not an option, because I know that is when anxiety can creep up. I need to be focused and create a timetable about what I need to do, not just in terms of my sport and training, but my mental well-being so I can stay positive.

They have now announced that the rescheduled Paralympic Games will take place between 24 August and 5 September, 2021.

I am trying to think of it as having extra time to prepare. In a sense it removes some stress for most people, but the important thing is to keep motivated and keep going. Not being in competition is a major re-adjustment. Since I started running, I have never faced such a long spell without competing.

Usually you have targets to work towards, so this is a whole new way of trying to stay strong, fit and motivated. I usually really enjoy training and one of the reasons I started running was to help with my Cerebral Palsy, to help with mobility, so having that as a goal in my head is really good and keeps me going. Also, within this strange time of being in isolation, it gives you something to do, so I am lucky to have my running.

Other aspects of my life have changed because of the coronavirus, of  course, and there are times where it can  be a bit of a challenge. My sports coaching course at University has also been postponed. I miss being there and we are not due back to September. That is why keeping active is really important to me.

I am trying to keep myself ticking over. In the past, with me battling my own mental health, it has always helped me to have things to focus on. To help me cope I have been trying to keep a routine and create a structure around how I’m going to spend my day.

I always wake up early and in the morning I feel I need to do something to stimulate my brain, so I have actually been doing maths, which I know sounds a bit nerdy! I have been doing past papers and practicing different topics so it gives me something to do. And then in the afternoon I’ll either train, go for a walk, or clean my house. It’s probably very strange compared to what most people of my age do but for me having a routine and not just sitting about not doing anything really helps. And that means at night I can just relax, unwind and chill out.

Keeping a routine and keeping myself busy really helps with my mental health and stops me from focusing on negative things. I’ve got lots of aims to keep me motivated. My family understand the issues I have had with my mental health and are very supportive and encouraging. It’s difficult just now because I can’t see my partner at the moment, and the news of the Games being postponed, so they’ve really been there for me and are looking out for me.

I am speaking to my partner every day on FaceTime. I am a quiet person anyway, so I don’t mind having time to myself, but it’s important just now to keep in touch with those close to you and making sure that you are not always by yourself. I have been messaging friends and family and we are looking out for each other, which I have found a comfort.

It’s definitely the time for us all to be kind to each other and help each other when we can. Everyone copes with things differently, and there will be people particularly feeling stressed during this situation, so it’s important to make sure everyone is coping okay. Even if you can’t be there in person, calling someone or dropping them a message might be the highlight of their day and give them the wee boost we need during these tough times.

  • If you need mental health support, please call Support in Mind Scotland's National Information line on 0300 323 1545