Lynda Bain doesn’t see any reason why Fiona Brian cannot go on to take over her mantle as the north-east’s fastest female marathon runner.
It will be 36 years this coming May since Bain, representing Aberdeen AAC, set what was then a Scottish record time of 2hr 33min 38sec when finishing seventh in the London marathon.
It’s still the 11th-fastest performance in history by a Scottish woman, while Steph Twell (Aldershot Farnham and District) moved to the top of the rankings with her 2:26:40 performance at Frankfurt in 2019.
Brian has a best time of 2:42:51, but hopes to revise that significantly when she competes in the Great Britain Olympic trial race at London’s Kew Gardens in March.
While the Tokyo qualifying requirement of 2:29:30 appears beyond her reach, the Metro Aberdeen club member is hoping to get close to the 2022 Commonwealth Games standard of 2:36:49.
But Brian believes Bain’s north-east mark is out of her reach – for now.
She said: “Lynda’s time is really fast, so I think her north-east record is safe for a while.
“My first aim in the London trial will be to get under 2:40, but whether I can get close to the Commonwealth qualifying time remains to be seen.
“It’s certainly the sort of time I feel I can do, but I’m just not sure when I’ll be ready to do it.”
Bain is surprised that no north-east athlete has approached her time since 1985, but feels Brian’s chances of bettering it shouldn’t be discounted.
She said: “My best time before the 1985 London race was 2:41:41, which isn’t that much different from Fiona’s best at the moment. So it can be done.
“London in 1985 was the highlight of my running career. I had competed in the London marathon the year before when it was the Olympic trial, but I didn’t do well, finishing 18th in 2:45:03. It had been a bad winter for training and I think that affected me.
“But 1985 was unbelievable. Everything went to plan. I knew I was in good shape and the conditions were ideal. I was hoping to run about 2:36 so to get 2:33 was incredible.”
Bain was being coached at this time by her Aberdeen AAC clubmate Graham Milne and admits she might not have gone to London had he not insisted.
She said: “I had an invitation to run in the Kuala Lumpur marathon which was taking place at the same time as London.
“I was keen to do it as I hadn’t done much travelling up to that point. But Graham told me I’d be better doing London. It was definitely the right decision.”
Bain no longer runs, but keeps fit by cycling and walking.
She said: “I’ve thought about maybe trying a parkrun, but never got round to it yet.”
A running career held back by injuries
Lynda Bain is without question the greatest female marathon runner to come out of the north-east.
Her outstanding performance in the 1985 London marathon in which she set a then Scottish record time of 2hr 33min 38sec capped a memorable career –unfortunately cut short by injury.
Bain should have been a pick for the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, but missed out.
She said: “I had quite a few injuries after 1985 and never ran any quicker.
“On reflection it was a disappointment not being able to run in the Commonwealth Games, although I didn’t think too much about it at the time.
“I did a few more marathons, including the 100th Boston race for my 40th birthday in 1996, but I didn’t do too well. I was slower than three hours.”
Aside from her London performance, Bain also highlights her one appearance for Great Britain, in the 1984 Kosice marathon in the Czech Republic.
It came just three weeks after she won the Aberdeen marathon for the second time, but she recovered well to finish second behind Germany’s Christa Vahlensieck.
She said: “The weather wasn’t good, but I enjoyed the whole experience.
“The Olympic runner, Bill Adcocks, was team manager and he was so enthusiastic. Everyone on the team got on so well.”
Bain’s first marathon, indeed her first race of any distance, was the 1981 Aberdeen marathon in which she finished third.
She lifted the inaugural Scottish women’s title in 1983, defended her crown in 1984 and won the Black Isle, Motherwell, Loch Rannoch and Moray marathons.