A TOP Inverclyde athlete who fulfilled a lifelong dream by joining Olympic champions in an iconic national race has now set her sights on reaching the World Championships.

Greenock runner Nynke Mulholland was thrilled as she got the chance to compete alongside world famous elite athletes in the Great Manchester Run.

The 29-year-old, who has been competing in the sport since the age of nine, joined track stars such as Olympian Eilish McColgan for the 10k that was televised on the BBC.

As well as competing with her club, Inverclyde Athletic, Nynke has also been selected to run in the 'Big Three' in 2022 - The Great Manchester 10k, the Great North Run half marathon and The Great South Run.

She is also targeting the 2023 'worlds' in Australia.

Nynke, who works at the Cloch Leisure & Spa, told the Tele: "Manchester was the most amazing experience and it came as a shock that I would be running alongside the elite runners.

"Lining up beside some of the world's best was a dream come true and I loved every moment.

"It will live with me forever and I cannot wait to do it all again."

Despite being a runner since a very young age, Nynke says her commitment to the sport was transformed when she lived and trained in New Zealand for a year.

She said: "It totally transformed me as an athlete, I came back elite and suddenly went from twelth place to winning.

"I still train virtually with my coach from over there, so during lockdown I was still able to continue with my training, albeit on my own."

Nynke currently trains six days each week and says her commitment to the sport comes with many sacrifices.

She continued: "There are times when friends will say 'oh just have a wee drink', but I am just so focused on my training.

"I'd much rather be working towards qualifying for the World Championships in Australia in 2023 than disrupting my progress.

"It's a big commitment both physically and mentally, but I really love what I do."

Nynke is supported in all of her efforts by her family - including boyfriend Alex, parents Martin and Hiltje and siblings.

Dad Martin, who works at Inverkip Community Hub, says he was 'so proud' watching Nynke compete in Manchester.

He added: "We are so proud of Nynke, it is amazing how much she has achieved.

"We have to thank her coach Thomas McSorley, who helps with sponsorship, and Martin Horn from Cloch Leisure who is very flexible when it comes to Nynke's training.

"The commitment she has is admirable - with all the sacrifices come rewards."