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Athletics: Disappointment as two winter road races cancelled

The Kinloss to Lossiemouth half marathon will no longer be held.
The Kinloss to Lossiemouth half marathon will no longer be held.

Two of the north’s most popular winter road races have been cancelled because of concerns over traffic safety – but a new late-summer Moray half marathon could be on the cards for 2022.

The Lossiemouth 10 mile Turkey Trot, traditionally held in December, and February’s Kinloss to Lossiemouth half marathon will no longer be held.

Gareth Jenkins, chair of Moray Road Runners, who organised both events, knows runners will be disappointed to hear of the demise of the races, which have been mainstays of the fixture list for the past 20 years.

He said: “It simply comes down to the safety of the runners. In the period since we took over the organisation of these events, the volume of traffic has increased and we felt it was only a matter of time before there was a serious accident.

“We put in as many mitigation measures as possible, but our marshalls were getting hassle from drivers and some runners weren’t following instructions as well.

“We are well aware of how popular these races were and they were fast courses. So, there was a lot of discussion among the committee members, but we were unanimous that it was the correct decision to take.

“We hope runners appreciate why we’ve taken this course of action.”

Jenkins revealed the Moray club is investigating an exciting new venture later in 2022.

He said: “We still have our annual 10k at Miltonduff in the spring. It’s held on a much quieter and safer route, so we are happy to continue with it.

“And we are looking into the possibility of putting on a half marathon in the same area. It was our Scotland international Kenny Wilson who suggested it. We are considering a two-loop course based on the 10k route.

“If we go ahead it will be held sometime before the Loch Ness marathon at the beginning of October. There aren’t any half marathons in this area which people could do before the marathon.”

Uncertainty over Covid restrictions caused the earlier cancellation of another two popular races. November’s Brodie Castle 10k will return in 2022, but organisers Forres Harriers had to take a decision to cancel this run a few months ago.

It’s a similar story with the Detox 10k, which is usually held at Lumphanan in early January. It is hoped it will return in 2023.

The scarcity of road races has seen a strong demand for places in those which are going ahead. The Peterhead 10k on November 7, and the Fraserburgh half marathon a fortnight later, both sold out soon after entries opened.

Most of the north and north-east’s major road running events plan to return in spring 2022, with the Inverness half marathon scheduled for March 13, Run Balmoral on April 23-24 and Run Garioch on May 15.

Chepelin edges north-east rival Ferguson at Hawick

Michael Ferguson was edged out by Sasha Chepelin at Hawick

Sasha Chepelin got the better of Michael Ferguson at the end of a thrilling battle for supremacy in the opening East District cross country league meeting of the season at Hawick.

The north-east duo were locked together for much of the 8k senior men’s race, in which the lead changed hands on several occasions.

But it was Chepelin, representing Carnethy Hill Runners, who finally managed to eke out a slender advantage over the closing stages, completing the testing course in 27min 20sec to finish three secs ahead of Aberdeen AAC’s Ferguson.

Fearghas Thomson, 16th in 29:58, and Michael Kilbride, 39th in 32:56, were Aberdeen’s other scorers from a field of 129 finishers.

Chepelin, who is from Aberdeen but now lives in Edinburgh, was delighted with his success.

He said: “It’s the most exciting cross country race I’ve been involved in, as we were so evenly matched.

“Michael was better on the firmer surfaces, but when we moved onto the muddier marshland parts of the course I seemed to get the upper hand.

“But there was never much between us and it was only when I noticed a short hill near the end I decided to make a final effort to get away, so I just sprinted as hard as I could.

“I’m sure if it hadn’t been so muddy he would have beaten me. But it was good to get such a competitive race. even though there wasn’t too much at stake.”

Chepelin, who is a member of the Great Britain orienteering squad, will compete in next weekend’s Tinto hill race before tackling the Pentland Seven Reservoirs multi-terrain half marathon in December.

Aberdeen AAC lead the way in under-15 boys race

Thomas Reynolds led Aberdeen AAC to a notable team victory in the under-15 boys’ race in the East District cross country league meeting at Hawick.

Lasswade duo Andrew McWilliam and Rowan Taylor occupied the first two finishing positions, while Kieran Fulton (Team Borders) was third and Reynolds fourth.

Oscar Chirnside, sixth, and Finlay Rae, 12th, were the other scorers for the winning Aberdeen side.

Aberdeen’s Hamish McKay was runner-up behind Team East Lothian’s Corey Campbell in the under-17 division.

Aleksander Jovcic, eighth, and Caleb Brock, 14th, joined forces with McKay to give Aberdeen AAC second position in the team contest, just one point behind Harmeny AC.

Fifth-placed Hannah Taylor led Aberdeen AAC to third position in the combined under-15 and under-17 girls’ race with backing from Aimee Tawse, 11th, and Grace Macdonald, 15th.

At under-11 level, Aberdeen AAC’s Emily Taylor took second position in the girls’ division, losing out by one second to Falkirk’s Skye Robertson. Banchory Stonehaven AC’s Harry Cook was third in the boys’ race, in which Aberdeen AAC’s Struan McKay was fifth.

Meanwhile, former Robert Gordon University student Scout Adkin finished second when representing Scotland in the Nations Cup mountain running race at Chiavenna, Italy.

The British mountain running champion completed the 19k course along the Val Breggia Trail in 1hr 35min 47secs, while Italy’s Fransceca Ghelfi won in 1:34:01.

East Sutherland athlete Ross Gollan was 28th in the men’s race, clocking 1:28:36, while Germany’s Filimon Abraham won in 1:18:29.

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