© Copyright – 2024 – Athletics Illustrated

At age 21, Megan Keith has emerged onto the international scene as the all-time fourth-fastest 10,000-metre runner in Great Britain. Behind only Eilish McColgan, Paula Radcliffe and Jessica Warner-Judd, she appears poised to challenge their records and global championship performances.

The young Scottish orienteer transitioned to athletics when she was 16 years old. She started competing primarily in middle-distance events with the 3000m being her likely best event at that time.

Racing long

At age 18, she displayed talent in longer distances like cross-country and the 10,000m. First, the Inverness Harrier ran a new personal best at the 2021 European Athletics U23 Championships. She finished the 3000m in the time of 9:16.50 in that race. She also won gold at the European U20 Cross Country Championship in Dublin in December 2021. At age 18, she was beating competitors two and three years older.

Leaping forward to January 2024, Keith set a European U23 record running the Valencia 10K clocking a 31:22 performance. Two weeks ago, she clocked 30:36.84 at the Sound Running’s meet in San Capistrano, CA. She is now the fourth-fastest in UK history behind McColgan, Radcliffe and Warner-Judd.

Her 5000m best is fast but is due to come down dramatically. In 2023 she ran her best of 14:56.98.

The third-year sports science student at Edinburgh University made her way into athletics from orienteering, where she became frustrated with how her running ability compensated for her weaker navigation skills. At 16, she turned more to running only. She grew up very active climbing and running the hills of Scotland.

Deep Scottish talent

Keith has entered the global stage after a long line of recent top-level Scots who came before and are still competing at a high level. Laura Muir in the 1500m, Callum Hawkins in longer distances. There is Jake Wightman in the 800m and 1500m as well as Josh Kerr and Andrew Butchart. McColgan, who along with Muir has re-written the Scottish record books from the 800m to the 10,000m.

Last year, she told the BBC, “I don’t feel there is any pressure on me because we have got these big names in Scotland who are going out there fighting for medals. But it is just a really crazy group to be a part of because everyone in Scotland is performing at such a high level right now.”

The 2024 outdoor track season is nigh upon us and being an Olympic year, expect more great things from Keith. In May, she will compete in the British Olympic Trials. The only other British athlete to have made the team in the 10,000m event is McColgan. Keith has already run faster than the Paris Olympic standard of 30:40.00 with her 30:36.84 performance.

Being ranked top-27 globally and achieving the standard, while finishing top-three at the British Trials will lock Keith’s position on Team Great Britain. Two of the three requirements are already in hand. She is currently ranked exactly at number 27. Based on their average 10,000m performance scores, only McColgan and Warner-Judd at sixth and 12th respectively sit above her.

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