English athlete James McMurray (St Albans) stormed to a clear-cut victory in the Scottish men’s 3,000m indoor championships at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, while Stephen Mackay of Inverness Harriers took silver after a thrilling battle in which little more than two seconds separated the next four finishers.
McMurray, helped by a pacemaker, broke clear in the early stages to win in 8min 00.38sec.
The real excitement came behind him with Mackay engaged in an fascinating tussle for the remaining podium positions along with James Donald (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) Cameron Strachan (Metro Aberdeen) and Michael Ferguson (Aberdeen AAC).
The Inverness runner finished runner-up in a personal best 8:13.19 with Donald third in 8:14.88, Strachan fourth in a Metro indoor record of 8:15.12 and Ferguson fifth in an Aberdeen AAC indoor best of 8:15.60. Stornoway’s Connor Maclean (Kilbarchan) was seventh in 8:22.81.
Mackay said: “McMurray was always way out in front with the rest of us in a chasing group. But James Donald shot off after two kilometres and that did me a favour as it strung things out.
“I gradually pulled him back and with 400m to go I knew I had the legs to take him. The others were following behind but with 200m to go I knew I was going to get silver,” he said.
“I’ve had 800m and 1,500m indoor bronze medals before, and silver at both distances outdoors, but this is a big step up for me endurance-wise to run 8:13 and get silver here. My previous best was 8:27.
“My main target for the winter has always been the 1,500m at the British indoor championships in Glasgow next month, and that remains the case. I feel I’m in really good shape to run a fast 1,500m and believe that I can maybe do 3:43 or 3:44. If I can do that then I’ll be competitive.
“I’ll take part in the 800m at the national open meeting in Glasgow later in the month and at the end of January I might be doing a 1,500m in Vienna. I’m waiting to hear about that.
“There’s also a couple of mile races in Ireland which I fancy. It has always been a dream to run a sub-four-minute mile but there’s not too many opportunities to have a go at that.”
Mackay was one of three runners from Inverness Harriers to come away with championship medals.
Lucas Cairns set a PB 9:10.99 to take silver in the under-17 boys’ race behind Harris Paterson (Giffnock North) who won in 8:59.37 while Julie Wilson struck gold in the women’s 45-49 age group in 11:59.81.