Metro Aberdeen’s Ginie Barrand grabbed the spotlight with an impressive winning performance in the women’s division of the latest Back-to-Basics 10k road race at Forres.
The French-born Banchory athlete, who won last month’s Fraserburgh 10k in a record time, cruised round the Benromach course in 35min 29secs to slice 15secs off her previous best set at the River Ness 10k in 2019.
It’s the third fastest time recorded on this course by a woman. Lyn Harding (Houghton Harriers) holds the record of 35:03 from 1990, while another Great Britain international, Megan Keith (Inverness Harriers), recorded 35:06 last month.
Barrand, who plans to make her marathon debut at London in October, was satisfied with the result, but believes she can go faster.
She said: “Conditions were good. There was a bit of a headwind on the way out, but it wasn’t an issue.
“The only problem I had was that a guy running behind me clipped my foot in the first kilometre, but it was fine.
“I believed I was in PB shape, but you still need to make it happen on the day. I ran pretty consistently throughout and I was able to pick up the pace a little over the final 3-4k when the breeze was behind.
“It’s good to be able to push hard without feeling like you are falling apart. I’m happy, but I feel I could push it a bit more on a good day with some competition.”
Catriona Fraser (Inverness Harriers) was second in 36:41, 10secs adrift of her PB set when placing third in last month’s race.
Jen Harrison slashed more than two mins off her previous best time when finishing third in 38:05. The Aberdeen AAC runner, who until four years ago specialised in running 400m on the track, made her 10k debut in 2019 when clocking 42:16 in the Aberdeen BHGE race. She improved to 40:27 at the Forfar 10k later that year.
Moray’s Kenny Wilson led from start to win the men’s race.
The Scotland international, who was competing for the first time since setting a PB marathon time of 2:18:52 in Cheshire at the end of April, recorded 32:11.
His clubmate Ewan Davidson held off Blair Mackay (East Sutherland) by four secs to take second position in 32:41. Mackay’s time is a PB, an improvement of 23secs on his performance at the same venue last month.
Wilson said: “It wasn’t too good. I usually manage running on my own a bit better than I did today. Maybe I went off a bit too quick and struggled in the middle for some reason.
“But it’s good to get a run out and just get a wee bit of speed in the legs. I kind of knew from about halfway onwards that a fast time wasn’t on, so I didn’t really force anything towards the end.”
Euros selection was surprise for Rees, but now she’s chasing gold
North-east sprinter Alisha Rees flies out to Tallin today to complete her preparations for the European under-23 championships, which open in the Estonian capital on Thursday.
The Banchory Stonehaven AC runner, who is based in Loughborough, will represent Great Britain in the 100m and 4x100m relay.
Rees admits, however, that her call-up came as a pleasant surprise as she hadn’t achieved the required qualifying standard of 11.45secs for the individual event.
She said: “When I got the call, I really thought I hadn’t heard right. But I’m very happy about it.
“I ran my two best times of the season so far, 11.53 and 11.57, on the same night at Lee Valley in London, just a few days before the team was picked.
“Also, my physio explained to the selectors that, because of Achilles problems, I was probably a couple of weeks behind schedule, so by the time of the championships I should be on top form.”
There’s little doubt that Rees’s excellent past record at major age group championships also helped her cause.
She played a key role in helping the British quartet win bronze medals in the 4x100m at the 2018 world under-20 championships in Finland.
She also earned a bronze medal a year earlier with the relay team at the European under-20 championships in Italy, where she finished fourth in the individual 200m.
She also won a silver in the 200m at the 2016 European youth championships in Tbilisi.
Rees said: “I’ve a lot of experience in age group championships, but I’m still waiting for that elusive gold medal.
“Maybe this will be the year.”
Struan sets new PB at Aberdeen AAC meet
Struan Linton showed good form when posting the fastest 100m time in the RAM league meeting at Aberdeen Sports Village.
Despite running into a headwind, the Aberdeen AAC sprinter blasted his way to a PB 11.13secs when finishing ahead of his clubmates David Irvine, 11.50, and Andrew Baldwin, 12.04.
Sharon Jakisa also demonstrated fine speed when heading the women’s competition with a PB 12.23 to get the better of her Aberdeen clubmate and Scottish 200m champion Roisin Harrison, 12.32.
North-east athletics followers were also pleased to see former Scotland international Kathryn Christie (Banchory Stonehaven AC) back in action, taking third place in 12.48.
Serious injuries have limited the 26-year-old Aberdeenshire athlete to a handful of competitive outings since having surgery on both feet five years ago.
As a teenager, Christie won the 100m and 200m sprint double at the Scottish women’s senior championships on two occasions – in 2012 and 2014.
Rhys Crawford set an Aberdeen AAC under-15 age group record when finishing second overall behind senior athlete Fearghas Thomson in the 3,000.
Thomson won in 9:25.70, with 14-year-old Crawford clocking 9:32.27 to cut a fraction over two secs off the previous record set by Alex Thoirs in 2003.
Stewart Clark (Banchory Stonehaven AC) won the 400m in a PB 50.70, while other winners included Hannah Cameron (Aberdeen AAC) – who took the 1500m in 4:30.13 – and her clubmate Robbie Farquhar, who cleared 6.79 in the long jump.