Sean Chalmers of Inverness Harriers showed a touch of class to get the better of Deeside’s Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist Robbie Simpson with a record-breaking performance in the widely welcomed Back to Basics 10km at Forres.
The Scotland internationals went head-to-head over the Ben Romach course, which until this year’s Covid pandemic had hosted open races for more than 30 years.
Entry was restricted to two waves of a little more than 20 athletes, but there was no shortage of quality.
Chalmers finally pulled clear with less than 2km to go and went on to complete the course in a personal best 29min 55sec. Simpson was 12 seconds behind.
Both men finished inside the course record of 30min 25sec set by Aberdeen University student Sandy Moss in 1996.
Another Scotland international, Kenny Wilson (Moray Road Runners), was third in 31:21, with Aaoron Odentz (Aberdeen AC) fourth in 32:30, and Gordon Lennox (Highland Hill Runners) fifth in 32:38.
“I’m really pleased to get under 30 minutes as it has been my target for a while now. It was good to have Robbie there to push things along,” Chalmers said.
“We set off quite hard over the first couple of kilometres then it eased off a bit. But going into the final stages I was feeling good and was able to push on and get the gap.
“There was a slight breeze but nothing to worry about so the conditions were quite good and it’s a fast course.”
RAF runner Ben Livesey, who won the Ben Romach 10K at Forres four years in a row between 2008 and 2011, was first in the over-40 age group, sixth overall, in 32:39. It was his first race since returning to the Moray area after a number of years based in England.
There was also a fine performance from Sam Griffin (Aberdeen AAC) who was first under-20 in 32:53.
The event was the product of a huge amount of work by Paul Rogan of Moray Road Runners who, apart from the normal problems of race organisation, also had to meet a wide range of Covid protocols.
He said: “We’ve not organised races like this before, in waves, but it has all gone so well. All the runners behaved really well and they’ve all done what the guidelines stated, which is really important.
“Off the back of this, everything is in place and we can now move forward to get more races organised through the clubs.
“Road racing is definitely on its way back.
“We’ve got this framework now, and we’ve proved that we can put these events on safely.”