Neil Fachie MBE
BSc (Hons) Physics, 2006
From Aberdeen to Paralympic Gold
Neil Fachie is a British multiple gold medallist in the Paralympics, where he competed with the GB Para-Cycling Team and set a world record in the Men's 1km Time Trial. He was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition known as Retinitis Pigmentosa at the age of 4 but this certainly hasn't stopped him!
As if his sporting career wasn't impressive enough, last year Neil wrote his first book titled 'Earn Your Stripes'. The book is designed to help readers rise up and reach their potential by applying Neil's methodology to the challenges they face.
Neil joined us for an 'In Conversation' event presented by Professor Jan Skakle, Personal Chair in Physics, to give us a unique insight into his incredible achievements. Professor Skakle was one of Neil's Professors during his studies at the University, and provided him with support and encouragement as his sports career was taking off.
Your Time at Aberdeen
Why did you choose to study at Aberdeen?
I was born and lived all of my life in Aberdeen prior to studying at the university. I was also aware that it was a great University, particularly strong in the sciences, so it seemed like the right choice.
Why did you choose your particular course?
I enjoyed sciences at school, and not really knowing what I wanted to do, it seemed like a good choice.
What did you most enjoy about your time at Aberdeen? Did you have any particularly memorable student experiences?
As a keen athlete I very much enjoyed competing for the University. It was a relatively small group of athletes, but it was a lot of fun. In a study sense, the practical work associated with my degree was always enjoyable.
If you were involved in any clubs and societies as a student, what did you enjoy most about them and what benefit do you think they have for students?
As mentioned before, I was part of the University athletics team. It was a welcome relief from study and was particularly good fun when travelling for competitions.
If talking to a group of prospective students, what advice would you give them to help them make the most of their time at the University of Aberdeen?
I would advise students to look at different groups. The social circle will start to shrink as you go through your course - having connections from other courses doing different things is great.
Your Time After Aberdeen
What was the title of your first job after graduating from Aberdeen?
What did your first role involve?
I was a 100m & 200m sprinter on the UK Athletics Paralympic Development squad. I was training 6 days a week.
What is your current job title?
Professional cyclist and co-founder of LNF Coaching Limited.
What is your current role?
I am a full-time athlete, training 6 days a week, while also sharing my insights from sport with those in business.
Please briefly describe the journey from your first job after graduating to where you are now.
I competed at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, finishing 9th in both the 100m and 200m. I joined British Cycling in 2009, becoming a double world champion later that year. From there I went on to win Paralympic gold at London 2012. In 2017 I set up LNF Coaching, a performance business coaching company, and in 2020 published a book.
Was your degree at Aberdeen essential for getting to where you are now? If so, in what way?
Not essential, but to know I had a degree behind me, should my sport fail, was helpful in giving me the confidence to risk full-time sport on very little funding.
One Top Tip
Try to discover the thing that really drives you. Motivation tends to ebb and flow, but if you are working towards something that truly inspires you, that drive will last a lifetime.