THERE is, admits Alisha Rees, something surreal about being the fastest Scottish woman who’s ever lived. 

No Scot, living or dead, has ever run faster than Rees. 

It is quite a claim to fame. 

But it is one that Rees feels has been a long time coming. 

“It’s pretty crazy to think I’ve run faster than any Scottish woman – that I could beat any Scottish woman who’s ever lived in a race. That’s pretty cool to think,” Scotland’s top female 100m sprinter says.  

“I had felt for a while that the Scottish record was within my reach and so I’m really proud to have fulfilled that potential – it’s been a long time coming for me so to finally achieve it is pretty amazing.  

“I feel like I’m finally reaching my goals.” 

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Rees has long been touted as a special sprinting talent. 

As a junior, she won multiple national titles, Commonwealth Youth Games medals and European Junior silverware, as well as setting numerous national records. 

But to finally get her hands on the Scottish record, which had stood for 48 years before she broke it last month was, she admits, quite an achievement. 

“When I was getting ready for my season opener, my coach and I both knew I was in good shape,” the 22-year-old says. 

“I’d been hoping it’d go well but I didn’t expect to run 11.39 seconds, that was a bit of a shock.  

“So I was on a big high to have begun my season so well.” 

Despite Rees having long shown considerable potential, the transition into the senior ranks has not always been seamless for the Banchory native. 

And she admits that the reason it has taken her a few years before really making her mark as a senior was as a result of it taking some time for her to realise quite how tough a sport sprinting is at the very highest level. 

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“When you’re good as a junior, you get things handed to you. I didn’t train very much but I’d be going to races and PB-ing regularly, I’d be getting selected for GB and things came really easily to me. 

“Then there comes a point when you hit the real world and realise that elite sport really isn’t that easy,” says Rees, who is now based in Loughborough. 

“I find it hard that sport at this level can be so all-encompassing and especially in Loughborough where you’re constantly surrounded by athletes, you’re stuck in this bubble of sport, it can sometimes become too much.” 

One of Rees’ primary methods of dealing with the pressure is her job with a charity where she helps vulnerable teenage girls. 

It is quite a contrast to elite sprinting but one that Rees wholeheartedly believes is necessary to ensure she doesn’t become overly focused on sport and her performance. 

“I’ve always said that I don’t want athletics to be my whole life. If I have a bad race, I feel pretty rubbish about myself so to have the distraction of work really helps me. 

“If I don’t have the best training session or race, I have something to take my mind off it and it’s such a rewarding job, I love feeling like I’ve made a difference. “And also, the girls make a difference to us as well.  

“A job like mine puts things into perspective– I might have a bad race but then I come to work and I realise it’s a really small thing in comparison to what some others are going through.” 

Rees, along with Olympian Beth Dobbin and men’s Scottish indoor record holder, Adam Thomas, has been part of a push to put Scotland back on the sprinting map. 

In recent seasons, the athletics headlines have been entirely dominated by Scotland’s middle and long distance runners but this trio is going quite some way to remind everyone this country can produce sprinters too; something Rees is determined to continue as the season progresses. 

Her next outing is today, in Geneva, and with the Commonwealth Games now only six weeks away, she admits much of her thinking is on making her Team Scotland debut in Birmingham. 

As Scottish record holder, she now has increased pressure upon her shoulders but she is, just about, managing to cope with that and remains hopeful that despite the level of competition to be included in the 23-strong athletics squad for Birmingham 2022, she will be making the journey south later this summer. 

“I try not to let the pressure get to me but I feel like the expectations come from myself more than anything. Now I’ve run 11.39secs I want to run that every race but that’s not the way athletics works,” she says. 

“My whole goal for this season is to get to the Commonwealth Games so to post the qualifying standard early was huge because it allowed me to stop thinking about chasing the time in every race. Now I can just focus on backing it up and enjoy the rest of the season. 

“It would be a dream come true to get to Birmingham.  

“The Commonwealth Youth Games in 2015, where I won silver and bronze, was a glimpse of the main Games and so since then, I’ve been desperate to get there.  

“Since 2015, things have been quite up and down for me and so now, I feel like things have come full circle and finally, I’m showing what I can do.  

“So it would be amazing to be there.”