Such are Jemma Reekie’s standards, a Diamond League victory, a World Championship final, fifth place in the world 800m rankings and running some of her fastest times ever were not enough to satisfy her this summer.

Despite everything she achieved this season, and despite the plaudits from observers about her ability to overcome what has been a challenging, to say the least, eighteen months, there remains a nagging disappointment within the 25-year-old about one thing; that she failed to get her hands on a major championship medal.

That Reekie reached a point during this season whereby a place on the World Championship podium was a feasible goal was, in itself remarkable as, just a few months previously, such a target would have seemed ridiculously unrealistic.

Having had her 2022 season all but decimated due to a bout of glandular fever, the after-effects of the illness continued to linger into 2023.

Add to that, a sudden and somewhat out-the-blue, to outsiders anyway, split with her long-term coach Andy Young in March, it was understandable that Reekie went into the summer of 2023 having joined forced with her new coach, Sussex-based Jon Bigg, with a blank slate when it came to targets.

“2022 was tricky because I had the illness and it was a disappointing year. Then the illness dragged on for longer than I expected, plus the disruption with leaving Andy so it wasn’t easy,” the Kilbarchan athlete says. 

“So when I went to Jon Bigg, we wiped all expectations of the season away – the goal was just to get back to being happy, healthy and start enjoying training again.”

Despite simplifying things, however, she admits in the early days of her new set-up, she had moments of concern that she was, potentially, about to head into another season which would see her underperform.

“When I joined Jon's group in March I was not in good shape; we were talking about me running under 2 minutes which, when you look at how fast I’d run previously, it was really going backwards,” she says.

“So it was hard to think that was my target and it was scary approaching another season not where I wanted to be. But it was also great because it gave me a goal.”

Slowly but surely as the summer progressed, however, Reekie began to show glimpses of the form that had taken her to fourth place in the 800m final at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

She quickly achieved her target of dipping under two minutes and soon, she had her sights set on challenging for silverware at the World Championships in Budapest.

It was a target she, ultimately, failed to fulfil – a fifth place in last month’s World  final in a time of 1 minute 57.72 seconds was, objectively, a good performance, particularly when it came on the back of her victory at the London Diamond League. But Reekie admits that it took considerable persuasion to convince herself of the success of her season.

“I’ve got to accept that it was a good season, and look at it as comeback season,” she says.

Glasgow Times: Jemma reekie was fifth in the World Championships 800m finalJemma reekie was fifth in the World Championships 800m final (Image: PA)

“People have said to me that I’ve done amazing to have come back from my illness and from all the changes and disruption and run as well as I did but I’m like just stop because I don’t feel like I have had a good season.

“But I’ve got to force myself to accept that it has been good in that I’m back winning a Diamond League and I’m back competing well.

“Deep down, I don’t feel like it’s been a good year but I know there has been some positives and there’s definitely things to build on going into next year.”

2024 will, hopes Reekie, be her best ever.

Having now had a season of bedding-in with her new coach, Bigg, she feels in a position to get the very best out of what is something of a new approach to training whereby she targets speed rather than endurance.

And it’s a regime that, Reekie believes, is exactly what she needs to enable her to find the extra few percent that will allow her to challenge the likes of Keely Hodgkinson, Athing Mu and Mary Moraa on the global stage.

Add to that a slightly altered mindset and Reekie is confident her best is yet to come.

“The move came at a good time for me – it felt like it was now or never,” she says of her new coaching set-up. 

“I know I’m still only 25 but at the same time, I feel like I don’t have all that long left. 

“Coming fourth in Tokyo was tough because I came so close to a medal doing training that I felt didn’t suit my body.

“That made me realise that I wasn’t doing what was good for me but then I got sick and that became the priority.

“So when I got healthy again, I knew I had to make changes to allow me to fight for global medals.

“Going through that tough time taught me a lot about myself.

“It made me learn to appreciate it winning. 

“And I appreciate being healthy now.

“I now feel so lucky to be doing and I appreciate my health and being able to run fast so much more now.”

Reekie heads towards 2024 knowing it could be the most significant year of her career.

With both a World Indoor Championships on home soil in the calendar, as well as an Olympic Games, Reekie sees the opportunity to really make her mark.

With the women’s 800m currently one of the most competitive disciplines on the track, Reekie is well aware of the monumental task that is getting her hands on her first-ever major championship medal. But that only adds fuel to her fire.

“Since 2020, I’ve had that potential to medal and three years later, I still don’t have that medal,” she says

“But I absolutely believe I will win a medal at some point in my career. That drives me forwards on those days when it’s feeling hard.”

Jemma Reekie was appearing at the launch of the recruitment campaign for volunteers for the 2024 World Indoor Athletics Championships in Glasgow. Volunteer recruitment is now open until 22 October; apply now at