Derek Rae's delight at call up for ParalympicsGB
Kirkcaldy marathon runner Derek Rae says he is “thrilled” to compete in the Paralympics after making the GB team.
The 35-year-old Fife AC runner will head to Tokyo for his second games after getting the call up for ParalympicsGB.
He said waiting to hear was just as nerve-shredding as it was for Rio 2016.
“I knew I was in the running but to get that call saying it’s signed, sealed and delivered is really exciting,” he says.
“I’ve had the experience of receiving that call before but it doesn’t make it any easier on your nerves second time around!
“My head coach Ron Morrison called to say it was good news so that was a huge relief for me, my wife, Susan, and everyone connected.”
Due to the pandemic the games have been put back a year but Rae says that, mercifully, his training regime wasn’t seriously hampered.
"The hardest thing for me was not getting access to the gym or any physio treatment but it’s all back on track now and, luckily for me, I do 95 per cent of my running on my own.
“I do two sessions a week in my training group and that’s back to normal so thankfully my training hasn’t been too badly affected.
"It hasn’t affected me mentally either. That start line in Tokyo has always been my focus and kept me motivated during the tough times.”
Further motivation for Rae is the opportunity to right the wrong of the Rio Paralympics in 2016 when he failed to complete the race.
“There’s still unfinished business,” he says, “I’ve waited five years to get back on the Paralympic start line so that in itself is a massive motivator, though I’m not letting it pressure me.”
Rae will jet out on August 17 to prepare for the marathon – the event which will close the curtain on the games on Sunday, September 5, beginning at 10pm UK time and shown live on Channel 4.
Before his departure he gave thanks to those who have helped him to get on the flight to Japan.
"I’ve had great support from two Kirkcaldy sponsors, Taxi Central and K Wallace Joinery,” he said.
"The last 18 months have been tough for everyone but these guys have stuck by me and made my job and my life a lot easier.”