SPORT, as does life, all too often fails to follow the script. This is what makes it so intriguing to watch but unfortunately for Morag MacLarty, she has been forced to face the brutal reality of sport deviating from what has been predicted.

As a junior runner, MacLarty was one of the most promising athletes in the country. She won European Junior 1500m gold in 2005 and ran the fastest 1500m of any junior in Europe. She won Commonwealth Youth Games gold and was Scottish junior champion many times over.

To say that things looked bright for the runner from Auchterarder would be the greatest of understatements.

Possessing natural pace as well as endurance, much was predicted for MacLarty and when she was selected for her first Commonwealth Games – in Melbourne in 2006 – aged just 20, it seemed the world was her oyster.

However, MacLarty has many qualities but she was has not blessed with an abundance of luck. Injury began to plague her and she admits that she struggled to cope with failing to live up to the potential that so many observers had talked of.

“When I was in the Commonwealth Games team in 2006, that was supposed to be the beginning of things for me,” she says. “I just assumed that my progress would continue.

“When you’re young, you don’t think that things will go wrong – you think that it’ll all go smoothly. But that’s not what happened.”

MacLarty was getting injured as frequently as every few months. This obviously takes a physical toll but she admits that the mental toll was equally damaging.

“Getting injured so much makes you feel like you’re not talented,” she says. “It was hard – everyone was talking about my potential but I was never able to put together enough races together to realise that potential.

“I feel like a completely different person now compared to all those years ago – it doesn’t feel like it was me that people were talking about.”

In 2010, MacLarty was running so well that the 2010 Commonwealth Games were a realistic target.

However, after picking up a stress fracture during the qualifying period, she admits she became so demoralised she seriously considered quitting the sport. But she stuck at it and now, things are beginning to look up.

Earlier this month, she finished third in the Scottish Short Course Cross Country Championships and the 30 year-old has been selected as part of the Scotland team to travel to Liverpool for tomorrow’s British trials for the European Cross Country Championships.

While MacLarty, who runs for Central AC, remains reluctant to make any grand predictions, she admits that it is encouraging to begin to see improvements in her form.

“I’ve been around for a long time but over the past year, I felt like I’d been putting a lot in but when you don’t get anything out, it’s tough,” she says. “But I do feel that things are changing for me.

“I’m getting fitter and stronger all the time so that’s good. I’m really happy with everything, I’m in the best place I’ve been in for ages.”

The biggest factor in MacLarty’s resurgence has been the identification of a leg-length difference, from which all of her injuries were stemming.

MacLarty describes her injuries as being so bad that at one point, she could not even walk down the street pain-free.

However, the discovery of “a gem of a physio” has now allowed her to train for a sustained period so the physical effects of her injuries are healing but the mental scars can be harder to heal. However, the full-time dentist is aware her lower training load could turn out to be of benefit.

“Now that I’m older, I’m finding it much harder to do well and I’m not sure why that is because surely if you’re talented when you’re young, you’re talented later too,” she says. “But there’s a book called ‘Bounce’ by Matthew Syed and it talks about when you see someone doing something great in competition, you think: ‘They’re so talented’, and there is talent but actually, there’s all that hard work behind the scenes too.

“That book helped me because it made me think that I’ve not had the chance to do all of the hard work and even though I’m getting older, my legs are still only aged 25 instead of 30.”

With the 2018 Commonwealth Games now only 16 months away, MacLarty admits that making Team Scotland, 12 years after her Commonwealth Games debut, is certainly something that she has considered.

“The Games have definitely come into my thoughts,” she says.

“I’ll look at the 5000m but Scotland are so strong at that event so I might also look at the steeplechase.

“I don’t feel like anybody within Scottish athletics thinks that I’m going to do anything ever again and I can’t blame them for that because if you looked at the past few years, you’d probably agree with them. But I’m just going to keep on doing what I’m doing and see what happens.”