Marlborough’s fastest woman has had to slow down – albeit temporarily.
Sprint ace Lucy Sheat, who claimed the national women’s 200m title in 2017-18 and represented her country at the World Junior Championships, has endured a frustrating 2018-19 season.
Over a year ago she began an on-going battle with a medical issue, which she is slowly getting under control, leaving her struggling to operate at the capacity required to compete at the top level.
Compounding the issue has been a geographical reshuffle, coupled with the added pressure of university study.
Earlier this year the 19-year-old moved from Nelson, where she shifted to be nearer her long-term coach Dennis Kale, to Dunedin, where she is completing her first year of study in Health Science, with a view to pursuing a degree in physiotherapy.
Consequently she is engaged in what she describes as a “bit of a balancing act”; getting to grips with the demands which come with being a first-year university student, recovering from her illness and a niggling foot injury, while trying to find time to stay on top of her sprint training.
She was only able to attend one athletics event this past season, a twilight meet in Nelson.
Sheat went to the national champs, but only as a supporter of the Tasman athletes chasing NZ titles, and admits it was a hard watch, seeing her regular rivals burning up the track without her being able to chase them down.
“It was crazy hard … I can recall standing there watching the 200m final and it was tough to not be on the track, but it was great to catch up with all the girls and watching how they are progressing and of course supporting the Tasman squad after time away, that was great fun.”
Although absent from the starting line this season, Sheat is adamant she still has plenty of unfinished business on the running track.
“I’m not giving [athletics] up, I’m definitely keeping it going.
“I plan to be fully healthy and ready to compete next season. At the moment it is a matter of keeping my health in check, keeping fit so that when I need to I can get stuck in again.
“It has been a struggle with the health issues and injuries but knowing that I am getting through it and I have time to get it sorted is really positive.”
Despite her current track and field setbacks, Sheat can see a silver lining, her enforced lay-off allowing her time and energy to kick start her university studies.
“It has definitely been a blessing in disguise,” she added.
“I think about all that has been going on and how that would have affected me throughout the busy season. I can see the benefit of having some time to myself out, to put my health and study first for a little bit.
“Just to get settled so I can come back stronger and better.”