KAYLEIGH HAGGO is the embodiment of the old saying that one good turn deserves another. As lockdown descended, the para-athlete put out a call to her local community in Maybole asking if anyone could spare some equipment to allow her to continue training at home.

The people of South Ayrshire duly responded. Within 48 hours the 21-year-old had a full gym set-up with weights, bench press and rowing machine. It was a touching gesture that she will not forget in a hurry.

“I couldn’t believe the response,” she said. “I’ve promised that the next medal I win I will dedicate it to them.”

Good people do not always need a reason to do good things but Haggo’s profile and popularity no doubt expedited the rush to help her out at a time of need.

Her ongoing success at her chosen sport of race running – where athletes balance on a three-wheeled bike with no pedals and then propel themselves forward with their legs – has helped put Maybole on the map.

Last year she became the first 100m world champion in the sport, while she recently claimed a world record over 200m, her fourth such title given she was already the fastest on the planet over 100m, 400m and 800m.

The long-term desire is to see race running included in the 2024 Paralympics but there is plenty to occupy her in the interim.

This weekend Haggo, who has cerebral palsy that affects her balance and motor skills, has been competing against able-bodied athletes over two days in Tranent before covering the six miles between Celtic Park and Ibrox in the virtual Kiltwalk today.

“I hadn’t expected to race at all this year so breaking the world record was a nice surprise when things got going again,” she added.

“Normally I need to travel to England or into Europe to compete but up here I’ve been running in mainstream competitions against able-bodied athletes which I had never done before. But it’s all about inclusivity and it was nice to take part.

“I’ve been doing race running for almost a decade now and took to it right away. Before that if I tried to run independently I would fall over. Now I can run as fast
as I like without having to worry about losing my

“Because I was able to train so much during lockdown I did my first half-marathon recently which was amazing. I enjoyed it as it was something new and I saw it as a challenge.”

It is what Haggo does off the road and track, though, that makes her such a popular figure among her community. The sports coaching and development graduate spends most of her days in schools throughout the region, sharing her story and offering encouragement to disabled children still looking for their path through life.

She is an enthusiastic advocate for disability sport inclusion and her Kilt Walk run is being done to help raise funds for Ayrshire Sportsability.

“I go into schools most days and give educational talks and the kids seem to enjoy it,” she said. “They always ask lots of interesting questions.

“And I work with PE teachers to help them include someone who has got a disability so they can feel a part of the session. A big part of it is just to raise awareness of what it’s like with a disability and how to make people’s lives a little bit easier.

“I’m really busy with my own training and racing but most of my time is spent developing sport programmes for others. After school I also run community clubs for children with disabilities.

“People always ask how I fit it all in but it’s definitely worth it. I don’t receive any funding from sporting bodies so I need to work to allow me to compete. But it helps when you do a job that you love.”

Despite her evident single-mindedness and determination, Haggo says she could not do it without the support of coach John Owens and the rest of her team.

“Having their backing is really crucial. I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without that team behind me.”

Kayleigh is running six miles in the Virtual Kiltwalk today to raise funds for Ayrshire Sportsability. She can be sponsored at https://edinburghkiltwalk2020.everydayhero.com/uk/kayleigh-4