5 things you should know about 200m sprinter Beth Dobbin

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Photo credit: Morgan Harlow
Photo credit: Morgan Harlow

Scottish sprinter Beth Dobbin is the current Scottish 200m record holder, after setting a time of 22.50 in the Muller Anniversary Games in 2019. She also raced at the Tokyo Olympics, running a time of 22.78 and finishing fifth in the semi-final.

Her summer competition season got off to a disappointing start this year, after she finished fourth in her 200m heat at the World Athletics Championship with a time of 23.04, which wasn’t enough for her to progress to the semi-finals.

But the 28-year-old still has the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham to play for this summer, as well as the European Championships in Munich, in August.

If you’re not familiar with Dobbin, here are five things you should know about the record-breaking sprinter.

Her dad played football for Celtic

Despite being born in Doncaster, Dobbin represents Scotland due to the fact that her dad was born there. Her father, Jim Dobbin, also played football as a midfielder for Celtic and Motherwell, before moving to Doncaster to play for Doncaster Rovers, then Barnsley and Grimsby.

Running with her dad as part of his training was what inspired her to take up athletics. She told the Doncaster Free Press: ‘I had already learnt from going for runs with my dad that hard work is required to do well in sport, and from a young age I fell in love with the feeling you get after you’ve pushed yourself to your limit in a training session.’

She was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teenager

Aged 13, Dobbin suffered an epileptic seizure at school that was so severe it left her unable to walk or talk afterwards.

‘My hand kept moving uncontrollably, then I started to feel my eyes roll back,’ she told Epsy Health. ‘I looked at my best friend and she looked terrified – still to this day I remember the look on her face. I remember thinking I was going to die.

‘I was out for about 10 to 15 minutes. My dad was at the hospital, I could recognise him but I didn’t know where from. The medics thought I had a stroke, however, after several tests I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Thankfully, my speech and memory came back, but even to this day my memory has little moments.’

As a result, she had to undergo months of speech therapy following the seizure, and years later, after coming off her medication, she suffered from anxiety, PTSD and phobias as a young adult. She has spoken openly about her epilepsy in the hope of spreading her story to other athletes who have the condition.

She only turned professional in 2019

Dobbin worked multiple jobs, including as a receptionist and parking supervisor, at Loughborough University until 2019, training and racing in her spare time. ‘I’ve worked the security gate for four years, giving passes to all of the full-time athletes that come in every morning,’ she told The Mirror in 2018. ‘It’s so funny. Hopefully one day it will be me driving in.’

She missed out on the 2018 Commonwealth Games by 0.01 seconds

Dobbin experienced the heartbreak of missing out on qualifying for the previous Commonwealth Games by a fraction of a second.

‘I felt quite hard done by and it really upset me – I cried a lot about it,’ the Edinburgh AC runner told the BBC.

‘I was mortified, but it just gave me that determination and hunger that it will never happen again. And I think that, because it was such a small margin, it really got to me and, at every training session, it's been in the back of my mind – I thought about it every day to never let this happen again.’

She was obsessed with London 2012

Dobbin told the Doncaster Free Press that in the run-up to the London Olympics, she bought every bit of Olympic memorabilia she could that featured the London logo.

‘I bought loads of cups and bowls that all said “London 2012” on them,’ she said. ‘My family were laughing at me the other day because I even bought egg cups. I still use the egg cups.

‘I was 18 and I was moving to uni, so I needed all this stuff. Then I took them to uni and felt really embarrassed. Because I was like, “This is so sad. I’m obsessed with the Olympics!”’

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