As a teenager, Scout Adkin was earmarked as one of Scotland’s most promising hill runners in a generation.

Back in 2011, Adkin was the best junior in Britain and, it appeared, had a glittering career ahead of her.

However, it’s taken the 30-year-old until very recently to begin to fully realise her potential.

There has been, Adkin admits, more than a few fallow years in her twenties when she was some distance from achieving the results that were expected both by herself, and by others.

But the past few seasons have seen her pick up several accolades, including bronze and silver in the team events at this summer’s World Championships.

Her greatest achievement, however, is on the cards.

The next three days will see the 2023 World Mountain Running Series come to a close, and Adkin has every chance of making it onto the podium for the season-long standings.

To do so, a strong showing is imperative in her final two races of the season, today and on Sunday, in the World Cup event in Gran Canaria. Good performances are likely to see her move up from her current status of fifth place on the global rankings into one of the coveted top three spots.

Having such an impressive result within touching distance is, Adkin, admits, a thrilling prospect.

“The body is starting to remind me that it’s been a long season but hopefully it can hold together for a few more days,” the Peebles athlete says. 

“There’s definitely scope for a very good finish to the season.

“It’s been very satisfying to have such a good year - it’s a long, hard season so it’s been tough at times.”

That it’s taken Adkin, who is now based in the Lake District, quite so long to hit her peak is not, she believes, down to any single reason.

Undertaking a physiotherapy degree in her late teens and early twenties did little for her development as a runner – long academic days meant she had limited time to train and race and her performance plateaued accordingly.

And when, in her mid-twenties, she began floating along in a running sense, the doubts began to creep in regarding what she might ultimately achieve.

“It’s felt like the good results I’ve had this year have been a long time coming,” she says. 

“There’s been quite a few years in the past decade where things haven’t been going as well as I’d have liked and I questioned myself a lot during that time. 

“There definitely were times when I thought it wasn’t all going to come together - I had moments when I thought I might be just a decent club athlete. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that but I’d had higher hopes for myself. I began really wondering if I’d over-estimated my ability and had set my sights too high.

“Everything happens for a reason though and those ten years taught me a lot about myself.”

That Adkin had expected so much from herself is, perhaps unsurprising, particularly as she was watching her brother, Jacob, excel in the sport and become the 2019 European Mountain Running champion.

The Herald: Adkin's brother, Jacob, is also a world class mountain runnerAdkin's brother, Jacob, is also a world class mountain runner

Despite not hailing from a family of elite runners, having spent their childhoods walking, hiking and then running in the mountains on family holidays, the siblings’ talent was honed from an early age. 

And it’s always been the mountains, rather than the track, that’s excited Adkin as a discipline.

“There’s a few reasons why I prefer mountain running to track running,” she says.

“I get bored running round in circles, for a start. And being out in the mountains and the fells is what I really enjoy. There’s so much variety. It’s such a stress relief from work and I’ve seen so many amazing places with this sport that I’d never have had the chance to otherwise.”

It was in 2019 that Adkin’s performances, and results, began to pick up.

However, the pandemic decimating the mountain running calendar the following year meant her surge onto the world stage was forced to wait.

But having now reached the point whereby she’s a regular contender at the sharp end of world class races, she has no intention of allowing her progress to stop here.

“I’ve learnt a lot this year and I’ve got stronger as the year’s gone on,” she says. 

“Over the season, I’ve really learnt how to race these kind of races and these kind of runners – racing regularly, you get a feel for what to do to be up there with the best. 

“I’ve learnt a lot of lessons for next year and have so many things that I can take forward. 

“So, whatever happens this weekend, hopefully I’ve got a lot more to give next year.”