MORAG MILLAR has long been accustomed to having to take a path littered with obstacles.

As a teenager, she established herself as one of the most promising athletes Scotland had ever produced: a European junior 1500m title, Commonwealth Youth Games gold and an appearance at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, all by the age of 20, indicated the future was bright for Millar.

However, luck was not on her side; throughout her 20s, she was beset by injuries and never managed to fulfil the sparkling potential she showed in her early years.

These days, Millar’s life is almost unrecognisable to the one she led all those years ago.

Now 35, she is a dentist, owns a facial aesthetics business and is a mum to 18-month-old Mollie.

Buggy runs have replaced regular track sessions and training must be squeezed in amongst her packed schedule. However, one thing remains: her eagerness to run competitively.

Millar retains a burning desire to prove she still has what it takes to scale the heights in a sport she has spent most of her life immersed in and despite the range of other commitments that would have made it easy to hang up her trainers long ago, something continues to push her on.

“Things are very different now,” she says. “But at the same time, athletics is still very important because I’m getting older and I know I don’t have unlimited time left whereas when you’ve just come out of juniors, you feel like you’ve got forever.

“The way my whole senior career has gone has been quite disappointing. When you’re European Junior champion, you think things are going to keep getting better and better but it’s been an anti-climax. As a senior, I’ve never been able to match what I did as a junior.”

Today, Millar will line up for Scotland at the British Athletics Cross Challenge in Liverpool, which also doubles as the trials for next month’s European Cross Country Championships.

Millar’s hectic lifestyle may not allow her to focus entirely on athletics anymore but, regardless, she remains a hugely talented athlete and is very much in the hunt for a GB vest for the European Championships. That she is in the conversation at all, however, is somewhat remarkable, and a testament to her tenacity and determination.

To describe Millar’s journey to becoming a mum as challenging would be quite

an understatement.

A straightforward and blessedly uneventful pregnancy lulled her into a false of security, and she was utterly blindsided by what was to come. A five-day labour ended with the safe arrival of Mollie but that was only the start of what was a hugely traumatic time and one which left Millar unsure if she would ever run again.

Six weeks after the arrival of Mollie, Millar felt barely any better than she had the day after birth. A text to her friend and former team-mate, Olympic medallist Eilidh Doyle, led Millar to a pelvic health physio who told her a return would be possible, but it would be a slow process with considerable hard work required. Millar has never been one to shy away from hard graft though and so heartened by the news that her running career was not, in fact, over she began the path to recovery.

As Mollie hit the six-month mark, Millar was on the start line for her first race and a year later, she is now back challenging for international honours, something that, at times, she never thought would be possible again.

“When I was pregnant, I was incredibly naive and complacent, I thought that after I’d given birth, I’d just carry on like before,” she says. “But in those first few weeks,

I really wondered if I would ever be back. I wasn’t back running until 15 weeks after the birth but since then, there’s been a lot of progress.”

That’s an understatement.

A second-place finish at last month’s Scottish Short-Course Cross Country Championships behind Olympic medallist, Laura Muir bodes well for what, Millar hopes, will be a busy year ahead.

On the conclusion of the cross-country season, she will turn her attention to dipping under the qualifying time in the 5000m for next summer’s Commonwealth Games.

She knows she has the qualifying mark in her – she recorded the qualifying time earlier this year but it was ruled ineligible as it was in a lower-grade meet – but she is confident she can repeat the feat next year.

“It’s really encouraging though to know that I’m capable of running the Commonwealth Games time,” she says. “I’ve got a good team around me but my one concern is my body staying in one piece. I really have a pre-pregnancy body and a post-pregnancy body and I’m not doing as much training as I used to. But I’m stronger than I was before which is the benefit of having that base of fitness.

“It would be massive to make Birmingham, absolutely massive. It’d be like a home Commonwealth Games and Mollie could be in the stands, so it’d be huge to be there.”

Also in action today will be two-time Olympian, Andy Butchart, who recently won the Scottish XC title and will likely be in the hunt for another win in Liverpool.

He will be joined on the start-line by his compatriots, Jamie Crowe, Lachlan Oates and Sol Sweeney.

Joining Millar on the women’s team is Mhairi MacLennan while one to watch in the under-20 race is Megan Keith, the Inverness Harrier who has been in sparkling form this year.