Star in the making: Incredible rise of Edinburgh athlete Katie Johnson in 2021
It has been quite a year for athlete Katie Johnson, but being crowned Young Sportswoman Of The Year in Scotland has topped the lot.
The 16-year-old, who hails from Prestonpans, was crowned Scottish champion for 800m at both under-17 and under-20 level, and in addition she also won the English under-17 and under-20 800m titles.
Her stellar 2021 season culminated in the Sport Scotland Young Sportswoman Of The Year award at a prestigious ceremony in Glasgow.
Johnson explained: “I couldn't have dreamed that I would win so many titles this year. It was an incredible privilege to cap the season off with winning the Young Sportswoman Of The Year award, an experience that will live with me forever.”
“I had a great winter of training last year, and this set me up for a successful summer track season this year.
“I had been targeting the Scottish and English 800m titles at under-17 and under-20 level, but winning all four in the same year has never been achieved before and I wasn’t sure it could be done. It was brilliant to win all four.”
Following this unprecedented success, she went on to win the UK Schools Games 800m title, the Schools International 800m title and was selected to represent Great Britain at the Manchester International meeting, where she took the under-20 800m title.
Johnson was also part of the Scottish team that broke the long-standing 4 x 400m relay record at under-20 level.
A student at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh, her fantastic progress in recent years has gathered speed, with her 800m personal best time now standing at 2:06.
Johnson also boasts an array of impressive times for other distances, including a sub-57 second 400m clocking.
But her success is the result of many years of hard work. It all began when, not long after she had started primary school, when she visited the old Meadowbank Stadium.
She recalled: “When I was six, I went to an athletics holiday club, organised by Edinburgh Leisure and coached by Sed Remally.
“I enjoyed it, and then I started going to weekend sessions with Sed, before joining an athletics club in East Lothian at age eight. I moved to Edinburgh Athletic Club when I was 11.”
She hasn’t looked back since, pushing the boundaries and smashing through them. Hands-on family support has helped.
Johnson explained: “My dad coaches me. He has always been involved in my running. He knows what works and he has been devising my training sessions for as long as I can remember.”
In the winter months, Johnson has taken to cross-country running to develop her endurance and strength. She recently helped her Edinburgh Athletic Club under-17 team to win bronze medals at the Scottish East District championships in Stirling.
A wise head on young shoulders, she explained: “Even though I am a track athlete specialising in the 800m, the need for endurance is just as important as the need for speed.
“Cross-country racing is a great way to build the endurance I need for my track racing, and it’s also great fun!”
Looking ahead to 2022, Johnson is targeting the European under-18 championships in Israel in July. She hopes to finish on the podium and with a track record like hers, it would be hard to bet against her.