As a former under-18 international cyclist for Scotland, Emma Borthwick knows what it’s like to be involved with top-level cycling events. So, when her racing career was cut short following the diagnosis of a heart condition, Emma has invested just as much of her passion for cycling into enhancing student sport.
She joined the Scottish Student Sport (SSS) team in October 2017 and took on the role of Cycling Chair, a voluntary position in charge of organising and delivering cycling events of various disciplines for all students in Scotland. In the preceding year, the SSS cycling series consisted of just one event with 11 entrants. But in the two years Emma has been in the role, the series has grown to six events, with 122 entrants from 15 institutions.
As well as working alongside other event organisers, Emma has organised events herself and has helped other students promote events. Emma, who is studying for a Masters in Chemistry, also holds two committee positions with the University of St Andrews Cycling Club.
Her incredible efforts were acknowledged when she received the prestigious Dr. Robin MacPherson Student Volunteer of the Year 2018 award, on behalf of Scottish Student Sport.
Cycling gave me so many opportunities when I was racing to meet new people and learn things about myself. It really helped me learn about focus and resilience.
Emma said: “Cycling gave me so many opportunities when I was racing to meet new people and learn things about myself. It really helped me learn about focus and resilience.
“So when my racing stopped after being diagnosed with a heart condition, I felt I should start to volunteer to help give back to the sport that has helped me so much.”
Emma was nominated for 100 Women in Cycling by a number of people including Jess Barrows, Competitions Coordinator at Scottish Student Sport, who said: “Emma has managed to maintain expert delivery of the Scottish Student Cycling programme, liaising with all race organising bodies, all whilst studying for her Masters.
“Not only has she had to balance her role with her studies in Scotland, this year Emma also completed a compulsory year in industry placement in Macclesfield. Despite the distance, Emma maintained her commitment to the programme, driving hundreds of miles to ensure the events went ahead.
“Her passion for the sport, shining energy and organisational skills have provided opportunities for over 150 students which otherwise would not have been there. We feel Emma thoroughly deserves to be recognised for her efforts in promoting cycling to the student network, and inspiring them to get involved.”
What is 100 Women in Cycling?
Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling is an annual list celebrating inspirational women who are encouraging others to cycle.