A Chorley student will have more baggage that most next week when she returns from the USA – clutching a number of sporting records.
Former St Michael’s High School pupil Sara Parkinson pulls down the curtain on a successful three-year spell at Maryland and Baltimore County University, where she won a host of titles and being a six time record-breaker.
The 23-year-old has been successful on her sporting scholarship juggling her studies for a degree in geography and politics with training professionally every day as a middle-distance runner.
Among her many achievements include ending 27-year-old university record in the 3,000m competition, and only a few weeks ago she also broke through the 17 minute barrier in the 5,000m competing in an outdoor championships.
Mum Shelley said: “We are very proud of Sara as she has not just done well in her sport but also academically.
“At the university they have a roll of honour and she has been on that.
“She has a habit for breaking records, but they have to run 70 miles a week ahead of the track and field season.
“It trains them like professional athletes and I think she has come on leaps and bounds over there.”
Parkinson is returning across the Atlantic Ocean to study at St Andrews University in Scotland, but her mum thinks that she will not be hanging up her sporting gear for long.
She said: “It has been very intense and demanding on her, physically training so hard.
“I think she may take a break when she comes back, but she will be looking to keep it up.
“It is still early in this season, but she is 13th in the rankings for the 5,000m category of all UK athletes.”
The multi-talented sportswoman won a clutch of awards in Chorley at school when she won the high jump, long jump and running competitions.
Shelley added: “Sara has always been into athletics, but she also played netball to county level.
“However, when she went to America they did not really play netball, so she focused on her running and has done really well.”