BEING the person that drives youngsters to “stay in the sport forever” is what motivates athletics volunteer Sophie Allan to put in “crazy” hours.

The 21-year-old, who is a development officer with Dunfermline Track and Field Club was named as the Kubenet Volunteer of the Year at the Scottish Women in Sport Awards in November.

The event, in which Olympic swimmer Kathleen Dawson was named Sportswoman of the Year ahead of fellow Olympians Laura Muir and Katie Archibald, saw Sophie feted for her work as a coach and an official.

In addition to her work with Dunfermline Track and Field, with whom she also coaches, and with Active Schools in Clackmannanshire, Sophie officiates for both Scottish and UK Athletics; is on the committee for the Scottish Schools Athletics Association; volunteers with Pitreavie AAC; and has been named on Scottish Athletics’ Young People’s Forum, as has another Dunfermline Track and Field member, Darcie Black.

Speaking to Press Sport after receiving her award, Sophie, who has volunteered in sport since she was 13, said: “It still doesn’t feel real! I don’t know if it will ever properly sink in.

“Even when I got to the awards night, and I was the only nominee at my sponsor’s table, i thought it can’t be, they must be somewhere else!

I was excited and mortified but mostly excited and very grateful for it. It was intimidating but in the best way, if that makes sense. All these people walking in that are top-level athletes, or sport celebrities what I would call them, I was just a bit like ,’Oh my goodness!’”

The whole night, I found it really empowering and felt, we can actually do this. You can get loads more women involved in sport.

“The people that had nominated me kind of joked about it a wee while ago and I thought, ‘Oh, they’re just kidding’, and then I got the email in from Scottish Women in Sport. It actually went into my junk folder and it just said you have been shortlisted.

“It was a quick turnaround because it was something like three weeks before the event, so it was a total shock!

“I think it was something crazy like 1,000 hours (she volunteered) last year, which when I think about it is crazy because it’s like 19-and-a-half hours a week! That just seems crazy but I just do it without realising, I think.

“The biggest reason I’m there is because I enjoy it so much. Everybody makes that experience, especially the athletes.

“I like officiating at all levels – run, jump throw and all the way up – but, for me, it’s those under-11s on their first ever competition and you’re the person that makes their day, and you’re the person that drives them to stay in that sport forever.

“That’s what keeps me there.”