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Athletics: Inverness’ Megan Keith goes toe-to-toe with Olympic medallist Laura Muir in Scottish 4k championships

Megan Keith. Image: Bobby Gavin
Megan Keith. Image: Bobby Gavin

Megan Keith was satisfied to have given an excellent account of herself when competing against Olympic Games 1500m silver medallist Laura Muir in the Scottish 4k championships at Lanark racecourse.

The Inverness athlete kept pace with her illustrious rival as a group of four broke clear of the rest of the field in the early stages. Keith was at the head of the quartet alongside Muir and Glasgow University’s Eloise Walker, while Central AC’s Morag Millar was just a few strides behind.

It remained that way until well into the second half of the race when Dundee Hawkhill’s Muir shifted up a gear and powered away to win the title for the fifth time since 2015, completing the windswept route in 13min 9sec.

Millar launched an impressive late sprint, moving past Keith then snatching silver ahead of Walker, with both athletes sharing the same time of 13:18.

Keith was a further four secs behind in fourth position overall, but the 19 year-old safely retained the under-20 age group title she won when the championships were last held two years ago. She also led Edinburgh University to the women’s team title for the fourth season in a row.

‘Amazing to have her in the race’

Keith said: “It wasn’t until Thursday night that I heard Laura was running. It was amazing to have her in the race as it’s not every day you get the chance to compete against an Olympic athlete.

Great Britain’s Laura Muir celebrates after winning the silver medal in the Women’s 1500m final at the Olympic Stadium on the fourteenth day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“I decided I would go out hard, even though it was horrendously windy, and that definitely affected the way some people ran the race. I put my foot on the gas as I felt it was the right thing to do to make sure I got the most from it.

“Laura, myself and Eloise were together at the end of the first lap, with Morag just a little bit behind. Once we turned and the wind was at our backs, Laura began to pick up the pace, then she pushed harder again when we turned back into it on the final straight towards the finish.

“The headwind on the final quarter of the course really wore me down and when Morag flew past me with about 400m to go, I just couldn’t respond.

“I am really happy to have won the under-20 title and to be so close to Laura. Edinburgh University won the team title again, which also made it a good day.”

Aberdeen athlete Kirsty Purcell, who is also studying at Edinburgh University, finished 19th overall and fourth in the under-20’s, in 14:38.

Hannah Cameron, 14:43, was 20th from a field of 220 to lead Aberdeen AAC to eighth position in the team competition. Zoe Bates (31st, 15:06), Jade Maclaren (49th, 15:27), and Victoria Brown (142nd, 17:59), were the other scorers.

Chalmers seventh from 420 runners in men’s 4k race

Sean Chalmers was satisfied with his performance after finishing seventh from a field of 420 in the men’s race at the Scottish 4k cross country championships.

Sean Chalmers in action.

The Aberdeen-based member of Inverness Harriers completed the course in 12min 8secs, while Olympic Games 5,000m finalist Andy Butchart (Central AC) won in 11:47. Jamie Crowe (Central AC) was second, 11:53, while Lachlan Oates (Shettleston Harriers) took bronze, 11:56, and Central AC won team gold.

Chalmers said: “I’m happy with it given the high standard of the field. It’s also a bit short for me.

“The pace was so fast at the start and after the first 400m I was lying about 25th. After that I was gradually picking people off and eventually got myself up into the top 10.

“My main target is the European cross trials at Liverpool at the end of the month, where the course will be double the distance. This was a good sharpener for that.”

Chalmers led Inverness to eighth in the team race. Luke Davidson was 26th overall, sixth in the under-20 age group, in 12:42, while the other scorers were Andrew Johnstone (68th, 13:24) and Lucas Cairns (70th, 13:26).

Aberdeen AAC were ninth thanks to the efforts of Aaron Odentz (42nd, 12:53), Adam Brown (44th, 12:54), Fearghas Thomson (63rd, 13:21), and Ben Nelson (75th, 13:30).

Metro Aberdeen’s Jim Tole was first in the men’s 40-44 age group when finishing 55th overall (13:04). He also helped his club take 13th position, with Scotland 100k international Jason Kelly (32nd, 12:46), Martin Mueller (99th, 13:46) and Jordan Cruickshank (154th, 14:18). Fraserburgh’s Max Abernethy was 30th (12:45).

Aberdeen’s Crawford so close to under-15s individual glory

Aberdeen AAC’s Rhys Crawford came within inches of striking double gold when competing in the under-15 boys’ race at the Scottish short course cross country championships.

The north-east athlete was pipped by one second for the individual title, Kilbarchan’s Oliver Patton winning the 2k race in 5min 57secs in what was the closest finish of the day.

Crawford took more than adequate compensation by leading his club to team gold for the first time with Thomas Reynolds (ninth, 6:16) and Oscar Chirnside (14th, 6:29) combining to prevent Giffnock North completing a hat-trick of successes.

Rhys Crawford.

Banchory Stonehaven AC’s Millie McClelland-Brooks, representing Glasgow School of Sport, showed her class by sprinting to a four-second victory over Freya Campbell (Giffnock North) in the under-15 girls’ 2k race with a time of 6:44.

There was further success for Aberdeen AAC when the under-17 women’s team finished third behind Giffnock North and Falkirk Victoria Harriers in the 3k championship.

Hannah Taylor led the way by placing eighth (12:02),  followed by Grace MacDonald (12th, 12:10) and Aimee Tawse (16th, 12:21).

Meanwhile, Keith McIntyre got the better of a field of 150 runners to win the Peterhead 10k, which was held in extremely windy conditions over a new course starting and finishing at Catto Park.

The Fraserburgh Running Club member recorded 34min 31secs to finish well ahead of John Bonner, 36:27, with teenager Jordan Cruickshank (Metro Aberdeen) third in 36:39.

Shelly Duncan (Peterhead AC) won the women’s title for the second time in five years, with an impressive time of 38:52. Chloe Gray (Metro Aberdeen) was runner-up in 41:05, with Heather Geddes third, 42:17.

Elsewhere, Banchory’s Meryl Cooper won the Tentsmuir 10k trail race women’s title, while Aberdeen’s Sasha Chepelin won the Tinto hill race.