Runner smashes 42-year-old school record

A High School of Dundee runner has smashed a 42-year-old school record!

Runner smashes 42-year-old school record

Laurence Petty, F6, recently crossed the finish line for his school days, but not before he'd also raced his way to a brand-new HSD record for the 800m!

The 17-year-old recorded a time of 1m57.8s at Grangemouth at the end of May, beating the previous mark of 2m00.3s which had been set by Callum Henderson back in 1979.   

Laurence said, “My first reaction was that I was pleased with the performance, as it was my first race since the start of the pandemic. However, after cooling down and speaking to my Dad after the race we both realised what the performance meant, in terms of breaking the record, so that was a very pleasant surprise!

“It’s very much an honour to break such a long-standing record. It has been a goal of mine since joining the school; I knew it would be a challenge but that, with hard work, I had a chance of getting it. It’s nice to leave a mark on my time at the school with this record as well.

“Speaking to some former pupils who knew the previous holder makes it even more humbling.”

Laurence, who is one of the Heads of School, also runs with Hawkhill Harriers and holds the club’s U15 Boys 800m record. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, he had been invited to train with the Scottish Athletics team and, through his participation for Hawkhill in the UK U20 league this summer, he hopes to gain selection to line up for his country in competitive action.     

He says that his involvement in the School’s High Performance Sport programme has played a huge part in his development.

“I’ve been involved in the programme since F4,” he says. “As a result, I’ve been able to work with a physio and sports psychologist and gain access to specialist individual development programmes.

“Engaging with the sports psychologist, I have developed techniques to cope with the pressure and expectations of high-level sports, which has helped me enormously, to mature as an athlete and to take the next steps of competing on a more UK national level.

“The programme has provided me with the time and support to pursue my academic goals as well as my sporting ones. I believe this has helped in allowing me to continually train whilst going through the process of securing a place to study Medicine next year.

“And the psychology work has also better equipped me to face the challenges and stresses that life outside of running undoubtedly brings too.”

The School’s Head of PE and Games, Ewan Jack, said, “I’m delighted for Laurence. Breaking our long-standing 800m record is a fantastic achievement and a just reward for his hard work and dedication.

“Our High Performance Sports Programme was devised to support pupils in reaching their sporting potential while also achieving their academic aspirations. Laurence has done just that and it is hugely rewarding for us to see him thrive and develop - we look forward to following Laurence’s progress over the summer and beyond.”