By Liam Bryce

A TALENTED runner from Greenock has launched a fundraising campaign to help realise her dreams with a prestigious scholarship in the USA.

Seventeen-year-old Shelby Morrison has already represented Scotland but now hopes to rise even higher after earning a coveted place at Florida State University. 

She is now on a mission to raise £4,000 towards covering university fees and said the campaign is off to a flying start. 

She said: “It’s going really well for having just started up, we’ve raised nearly £400 already. 

“My family are taking care of a lot of the fundraising and my aunt has set up a Just Giving page.” 

Shelby, of Wellington Street, started pursuing the scholarship after noting the success of other young Scottish runners who had made the trip across the pond. 

The intensive course combines regular training with studying for a sports science degree at the university, which is ranked among the best in the country for developing young athletes. 

Shelby said: “I’m excited to get started but it’s been a long process already. 

“I think once I’m out there I’ll be able to relax and enjoy it but til then I’ve still got a shedload of paperwork to get done!

"In the first we are going out to North Carolina to train up in the mountains. 

“They pretty much fit your running around your classes so that you can get the full benefit of the training.” 

The Inverclyde Athletics Club member has been running since she was 11, and won the National Cross-Country Championship at 13. 

She has since racked up podium finishes at other national events, but revealed it was a decision to quit her other interest, dancing, that helped her kick on. 

She said: “In dancing, you rely on the judges to make a decision about who is the winner and I didn’t like that. 

“You could feel like you’d danced your heart out but end up disappointed because of a judge’s decision, whereas in running it’s all down to you. If you run a bad race then it’s your fault, there’s nowhere to hide.” 

The teenager was struck by tragedy in 2013 when her dad, Gordon, suddenly passed away. 

Also a runner, Shelby revealed she retains fond memories of training with, and competing against, her late father. 

She said: “I started running before my dad and I was always faster than him. 

“I was determined never to let him beat me. 

“I remember racing at a 5k event in Dunoon and I looked back to see him coming right up behind me but luckily I managed to hold him off.

“I hope that I’m doing him proud, I do wish he could be here to see me.” 

The former Notre Dame High School pupil now specialises in track running, competing over distances such as the 1,500m and 3,000m. 

Shelby admits that a tough training regime sometimes takes its toll, but says that it’s all worth it in the end. 

She said: “I make sure I try hard in every session.

“Training is probably the hardest part, but when you race well and get good times you get such a buzz. 

“It’s an unreal feeling, you can’t really describe it.” 

Shelby’s progression has been closely monitored by her coaches at Inverclyde AC, who have been there to offer guidance every step of the way. 

Coaching co-ordinator Janice Hendrie thinks the young prospect has what it takes to succeed over in the US. 

She said: “I think it’s a really big achievement, there’s not many people from this area who have been on a scholarship. 

“I’ve spoken to the coach she will be working with and she’s very excited to have Shelby on her team. 

“I have every confidence in her, I think if anyone can do it, Shelby can.” 

Donations to Shelby’s crowdfunding campaign can be made at