SCOTTISH athletes are breaking national records at such a rate these days that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all. And what is most encouraging for the sport is that records are being smashed right across the board- from sprints up to the marathon.

One of the most recent record setters is Heather Paton, who in running 8.34 seconds last Sunday at an indoor meet in Ireland, equalled the six-year-old Scottish 60m hurdles record.

Paton knew that she was in good form going into the race but nevertheless, she admits that running a national record came as something of a shock.

“I was really happy with my run – to get a PB and equal the national record, I can’t ask for more than that,” the 20 year-old says.

“I feel like I’m in good shape at the moment and each race I’ve been chipping away at my personal best so I knew that the record was there. But to actually get it is great.”

Paton’s impressive run continued her exceptional start to the year as the previous week, she successfully defended her Scottish Indoor title so it has been the perfect build-up to the British Indoor Championships in Sheffield this weekend.

The standard will be high and Paton’s primary goal for the event is to reach the final, a feat she has never achieved before.

However, the Birchfield Harriers athlete is aware that the step up in standard will call for her to be at her peak both physically and mentally.

“I’m really excited about the British Champs – it’ll be great to run against athletes who are of such a high standard because that can only help push me to quicker times,” she says.

“The sprint hurdles is hugely mental, though. You’ve got to run your own race because you can easily get into the rhythm of the person next to you.

“You need to have blinkers on but that can be difficult, especially if people around you are hitting hurdles but you have to just keep your concentration.”

Paton will be just one of many Scottish athletes to keep an eye on at the British Championships this weekend.

A number of Scots have been grabbing the headlines both nationally and internationally in recent weeks with Laura Muir already having broken several British records in 2017, Eilidh Doyle leading the European rankings for 400m for a time and Callum Hawkins setting a new Scottish half-marathon record.

“It’s going brilliantly for Scottish Athletics at the moment and it’s amazing to be a part of it, I could only have dreamed of that happening,” she says.

“For me to be mentioned in the same breath as the other athletes who are running records at the moment is unbelievable, it’s pretty surreal.

“I’m so humbled to be a part of this success and I keep thinking, I shouldn’t be mixing with these people! But I’ve worked so hard and it’s so great to see it paying off.

“Team Scotland is so friendly and there’s such a great atmosphere – everyone is so encouraging of everyone else and it’s brilliant to be a part of a group of athletes like that.”

Paton’s sporting prowess is perhaps not unexpected when you consider the genes she has inherited.

Her father played rugby league for Wigan, Scotland and Great Britain and so she has been surrounded by sport all her life.

Paton was born in England and lives in Worcester but qualifies to run for Scotland through her father so while she has never lived north of the border, she has no doubts about where her loyalties lie.

“I’ve always felt really Scottish – my dad had me learning the national anthem when I was two or three,” she laughs.

“Whatever sport I’ve done, my parents have always been encouraging and I so think my dad is really proud that I’m running for Scotland.”

This is a big year for Paton. She is targeting a spot in the British team for the under-23 European Championships in Poland in July and she also has a serious focus on achieving the qualifying standard for next year’s Commonwealth Games.

Ever since taking up athletics, a spot in Team Scotland for the 2018 Games has been her primary aim and she admits that being so close to achieving her goal feels somewhat surreal.

“I remember watching Glasgow 2014 and thinking how much I wanted to do that myself,” she says.

“I changed coach last year and I feel so much stronger since I’ve been training with my new group.

“When I set that target six years ago, it seemed so far away and now, it’s only a year away which is pretty crazy.

“I would absolutely love it if I can get there.”