Rugby is scrum-thing special for my Hannah

As you know, I am assembling a team of Laffertys to run the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run in Glasgow on October 5.

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Hannah  playing  rugby at university
Hannah playing rugby at university

One of them is my daughter Hannah who I have mentioned in this column and who was the original inspiration for my resuming running - she completed the Loch Ness Marathon in 2013.

So as we train for Glasgow, I thought: why not let my daughter speak for herself? You deserve a break from my witterings, and can read what an actual sportsperson thinks. She, er, tends to speak her mind.

Over to you, Hannah.

As the daughter of a lawyer, I am certainly not one to shy away from a debate.

Although I'm not looking to go into the family legal business, if there is something dad has consigned to me it is the ability to argue, which I'm sure the rest of my family know all too well.

So the case I'm putting forward, or rather strengthening alongside dad's, is the argument that anyone has the capacity and ability to partake in sport and exercise , no matter what size, age or gender.

As a 21-year-old women, I am in a decent physical condition, even after several years of student living (… or drinking - sorry mum).

I've always been a competitive person and particularly into team sports, so naturally in school I involved myself in the sporting opportunities available for girls.

This was limited to hockey-and only hockey. Not one for holding back on my beliefs, I felt this was terribly unfair.

And so cue the lamentations from marginalised feminist: Why did the boys get more opportunities in playing sports like football, rugby, basketball etc. and we girls only had hockey? Is hockey just a big misogynistic joke so we can practice our sweeping for when we are shackled housewifery … ok ok, let's put the militant feminism away.

Actually hockey is great sport and one I will be playing this year in my final year of University.

But in my freshers' week at the sport's fayre I was presented with catalogue of different and interesting new ways of exercise in the forms of things such as korfball, ultimate frisbee and MMA (mixed martial arts).

However, one thing that especially caught my eye was Women's Rugby. Laying any prejudices to one side, I approached the stall wherein a group of beautiful and seemingly genteel ladies stood.

I was somewhat confused at what I saw as my predisposed idea of rugby was that all participants were big, gruff and outwardly butch.

I wondered how these sweet girls had the capacity to 'deck folk' on a pitch.

And so, after I attended my first training session I never looked back.

What my experience in rugby has taught me is that anyone of any size and any ability can do ANY sport.

When I tell people I play rugby I'm met with the same bemused reaction: "YOU play rugby?! How does that work… You're not big/ strong/aggressive (Glaswegian)/ violent/ ugly enough to play rugby!"

Rather than proving my point through physical means and rucking over them at that moment, I usually pipe up and respond by telling them about my little blonde Canadian friend Jess who is only 5ft 3in and could quite easily take down anyone that gets in her way.

Rugby has instilled in me that no matter what one's apparent limitations are they can usually be overcome.

It's 2014 and at this evolved stage in society no-one should feel restricted by gender, age, colour, sexuality, race or disability.

I really do believe that the presumptions made about certain sports should be eliminated and opportunities for everyone and anyone must be encouraged.

I want to echo my father's message in that anyone can and should be doing sports and exercise in whatever form that may take.

Even at 55 he too is trying to keep himself in some sort of shape and taking on various challenges in the form of road running and for this I am very proud of him.

The apparent inspiration for my dad's reignited passion for keeping fit was seeing me cross the finish line at the Loch Ness marathon.

This, for me, was no easy ride as my usual running distance is restricted to sprinting (and by that I mean I'm too lazy to run far).

The hard work and effort involved was worth the personal sense of accomplishment in crossing the finish line and seeing my parents cheering on their tired and worn out daughter kitted out in a batman T-shirt.

I'm just glad I never gave into my dad's petition that I wear an entire batman outfit … cape and all.

No, Austin.

I'm very much looking forward to tearing through the streets of Glasgow in October along side dad in the Great Scottish Run.

Let's see who wins.

Sport

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