Jamie Crowe’s record-breaking victory in the Campus 5k at Inverness has given the Dundee-based athlete a massive boost as he begins the countdown towards his autumn marathon debut.
The Scotland cross country international swept round the 4.5 lap course in 14min 2secs to swipe 40secs off the previous record set by Moray’s Kenny Wilson in 2019.
It’s the fastest time recorded anywhere in the Highlands and is only nine secs adrift of his lifetime best set at the highly competitive Armagh international 5k in 2020.
He said: “I’m happy with the performance as I’ve been doing a big mileage and never really eased back for it. I reckon I’m in better shape than I believed I was.
“I set off hard and tried to maintain the pace all the way. I thought I was going to get under 14min, but it was close.
“I ran solo the whole way, but I enjoyed the race. The course is good, although there are a few sharp corners, but it’s still a fast one.
“Conditions were fine as well. A bit of a breeze got up. but you were never running into it for long because of the laps.”
Crowe, who is the reigning Scottish cross country champion, hopes to tackle his first marathon in October, either at London or Manchester, but he has a few shorter races pencilled in before then.
He said: “I’m going to do a track 5k at the British Milers Club meeting in Glasgow this coming Friday. I’d like to get under 14mins there, but I tend to run better on the road than on the track.
“I’ll also do the Scottish 5k track championships.
“I’m planning to compete in the Big Half marathon in London in August as part of my preparations for the marathon. I’ve only done one half marathon before, at Bath last year where I recorded 1hr 4min 38secs.
“I’d like to run in the 1:03s at the Big Half to set me up for the full marathon. But I’m not making any predictions about a marathon time.”
There was a thrilling battle for second position with Moray’s Kenny Wilson getting well inside his old record when edging out Strathpeffer athlete Hamish Hickey (Central AC), both sharing the same time, 14:20
Jason Kelly (Metro Aberdeen), who is preparing for his Scotland debut in next month’s Anglo Celtic Plate 100k road race, was fourth in a PB 15:14, two secs ahead of Ewan Davidson (Moray Road Runners).
Finlay Ross (Harmeny AC) led the way in the under-20 men’s age division, clocking 16:02 for 16th position overall, while Donnie Macdonald (Inverness Harriers) was first in the 40-49 age group when finishing inches behind in the same time.
Timothy Cooke (Inverness Harriers) was best of the over-50s in 18:57.
Win in Highlands helps Morag Millar get over Commonwealth frustration
Morag Millar had a big smile on her face after obliterating the women’s course record in the Campus 5k at Inverness – but it masked the sense of bitter frustration she felt over a decision made a few days earlier to deprive her of a 2022 Commonwealth Games qualifying time.
The Larbert-based athlete recorded 15min 55secs in the grounds of the Highlands and Islands University to scythe 44secs from the previous record set by Mhari Maclennan (Inverness Harriers) in 2018.
The previous weekend she was well inside the Scotland 2022 Commonwealth Games 5,000m qualifying standard when clocking 15:43 at a track race in Milton Keynes.
However, she subsequently learned that her performance wouldn’t count because the meeting wasn’t accredited at the correct level.
She said: “I really didn’t expect to hear that. It’s frustrating as I doubt if I’ll have any more opportunities this year.
“I last ran in the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and my goal is to run again in 2022.
“My training has been going really well and I’m getting better all the time, so we’ll see what happens.”
Milar was pleased with her performance in the Highlands, saying: “I really enjoyed it. It was good to have guys to run against.”
Zoe Bates (Aberdeen AAC) finished second in a personal best 17:21, while Kirstie Rogan (Moray Road Runners) was next best with 18:14 followed by Heather Scott (Central AC), 18:24.
Anna Cairns (Inverness Harriers) was first under-20 in 18:44 and her clubmate Julie Wilson, who is in the over-60 category, was first veteran in 19:34.
Luke Ivory blitzes NC 500 record
A Brora athlete is already setting himself new targets just days after stunning the British ultra distance community with an astonishing record-breaking performance for running the length of the North Coast 500.
Luke Ivory set off from Inverness Castle on his 38th birthday and finished back there five days, 23 hours and 4 mins later after completing the arduous 516-mile journey around the north coast of Scotland.
He averaged around 87 mile each day and knocked two days and 20 hours off the previous accepted fastest known time set by the highly experienced veteran Orkney runner Willie Sichel in 2019.
Ivory, who has never previously hit the headlines on the ultra-distance scene, started running at 4am each day and kept going until 11pm or midnight before grabbing a few hours sleep on a mattress in the back of a transit van driven by his friend William Johnston.
He said: “The first couple of hours of each day were really hard as I barely managed to get going at walking pace, but I gradually worked my way into it.
“Over the whole journey, though, sleep deprivation was the biggest challenge. It hits you physically and mentally.
“The final 13-18 miles from Dingwall was unbelievably tough. But every time it got hard, I motivated myself by knowing I was on for the record.”
Ivory hopes he won’t take too long to recover as his next challenge is less than two months away.
He said: “I’m doing the Ultra Trail Snowdonia 103 mile race on September 10. I also want to have a go at the record for running from Land’s End to John O’Groats, but that will probably be next year.”