Moray athlete Kenny Wilson admits he had a hard job persuading his coaches that it is a good idea for him to make his ultra-distance race debut next month.
The Scotland 10k and half-marathon international is to compete in the Speyside Way 36.5-mile race between Ballindalloch and Buckie on November 14.
Although he is an experienced endurance athlete, Wilson has tackled only one marathon – in Frankfurt last year – and has never been beyond 28 miles on a training run.
His main aim for 2020 was to record a fast marathon time as part of a longer-term goal of challenging for Commonwealth Games selection in 2022.
Wilson’s training went exceptionally well over the summer, but all this year’s major marathons have been cancelled, leaving him like Cinderella – in great shape, but without a ball to go to.
He said: “There’s nothing coming up apart from the Speyside Way race, so I thought I might as well give it a go as it’s right on my doorstep.
“It’s a proper local race for me. The route passes Knockando where I was brought up, goes past the distillery where I work and Craigellachie, where I now live. So I know that part of the route very well. I don’t know the later stages so well, but I don’t think that’s a problem.
“My coaches, George and Carol Sim, weren’t quite behind the idea and they took a lot of convincing, but I’m sure it will be fine. It will be a good endurance run before I start my training towards 2021.”
Wilson’s only race over the past six months was the Antrim half-marathon in mid-September, where he was a bit below par when recording 1:07:04, well outside his PB 1:04:55 set when winning the Kinloss to Lossiemouth race in February. His preparations were not ideal as he missed the ferry crossing to Larne and arrived late on the eve of the race.
Shortly afterwards he sustained another setback. He said: “I went over my ankle not long after, then had a few niggles because I tried running on it. I basically took a week off proper training ,but everything seems to be clearing up now and I should be fine.
“I haven’t altered my training very much for Speyside. It’s basically a flat course, which is good for road runners like me, other than the climb up and around Ben Aigen, which should be interesting.
“I’ve run a couple of loops there as part of my marathon training and to get some hill strength I recently ran up Ben Rinnes, which is the hardest hill around here.
“I’m fairly confident I should be able to handle it off my marathon work as the pace won’t be as intense as in a shorter race. Hopefully I’ll recover quickly then get back into preparing for a marathon next April.”