GOUROCK runner John Bell has been named one of Athletics Trust Scotland’s inaugural ambassadors - and aims to inspire the public to take up the sport.

The Inverclyde Athletic Club star previously spoke about his difficult upbringing with Athletics Trust Scotland, dealing with poverty, a broken home, addiction and mental health issues in his household.

His story was later published in the Greenock Telegraph.

Now, John has been selected as one of the first ambassadors for Athletics Trust Scotland, using his platform to spread awareness of ATS’ activities and contribute his voice to the its projects.

John said: “It’s a privilege to be a part of such a positive movement.

“My aim is to inspire and aid others to continue moving forwards and become the best version of themselves.

“I have come through a lot of adversity in life and I know the impact this sport can have on people by giving them some direction and sense of community.

“I hope to help those who need it most find something positive in athletics.”

Personal trainer John, 31, took up running in his twenties when two local runners at Inverclyde AC encouraged him to jog home from their place of work.

John explained: “I got some attention after this and started running a little bit more and this is really where my journey in athletics properly started.

“I was in a better place physically and running helped, but I was still not a good mental place.

“Running became a way for me to channel my pain into a positive manner. It became a huge crutch in my life and I wouldn’t be the same person I am today if I hadn’t put on my running shoes.”

Both of John’s parents died by the time he was 21 and he struggled in his teenage years with alcohol.

Since taking up running in 2015, John has become a Scottish champion over 10k and has represented his country over half marathon distance.

Athletics Trust Scotland has launched its Transforming Lives programme, providing funding to projects that makes athletics more accessible to disadvantaged communities.