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Athletics: Second postponement robs Aberdeenshire’s Meryl Cooper of world mountain and trail running championships chance

Oldmeldrum's Meryl Cooper.
Oldmeldrum's Meryl Cooper.

Meryl Cooper’s world mountain and trail running championships plans are up in the air following the postponement of the event for a second time.

The Oldmeldrum runner was selected to represent Great Britain in the 80k trail race after winning the national trial over a 100k course in the Lake District last July.

The championships were originally scheduled for Chiang Mai, Thailand this month, but were put back to February 2022 because of continuing concerns about the pandemic and associated travel restrictions.

However, as some of these issues have still not been resolved, organisers have put the event on hold once again and it won’t now be held until November 2022.

Cooper said: “It’s such a shame and very disappointing. I’ve also been told that the original selections are now void as there will have been such a big gap between the trials and when the race will actually be held.

“All of that is understandable, and I expected it, but it means I’ll probably have to go through the whole process again next year.

“But it’s hard to take because this year I have been completely focused on the trial, then the world championships as my main races. Now I’ll have to wait to hear what’s happening before I begin planning for next year.

The situation has been further complicated as a European ultra trail running championship event has also been pencilled in for next July.

Cooper said: “The original idea was that there would be a world championship in 2021 and a European championship in 2022, then they would be held in alternate years after that.

“I don’t know if the Europeans will go ahead next year or not. At the moment they are scheduled to be held in July on the Spanish island of La Palma, where the volcano has been erupting. So, who knows what might happen.

Aberdeenshire athlete Meryl Cooper.

“I was keen to do the Europeans as it’s to be over what for me is a relatively shorter distance of between 45 and 60k, which I’d like to try.

“But I don’t know when the trials for that might be and whether they will conflict with the trials for the world championships.

“In the meantime, I’ll be working on some shorter and faster stuff before getting stuck into a bigger endurance block in the new year when the situation will, hopefully, be clearer.”

Cooper tested her current form in a low-key race in Fife last weekend, winning the women’s division of the Tentsmuir Trail 10k.

But she’s keen to embrace some higher level overseas competition and has her sights set on a trip to the Canary Islands in February.

“I’m keen to do the Transgrancanaria 65k race,” she said. “If I did well there it might stand me in good stead when the selectors are looking at performances for the European championships.”

The cancellation of the world championships is also bad news for Aberdeen AAC’s Naomi Lang, who was due to make her Great Britain debut in the women’s mountain running race.

Helicopter simulator prize up for grabs at Run Balmoral

Run Balmoral is set to return.

Runners signing up for the Bristow 15 mile trail race at the 2022 Run Balmoral meeting will have a chance of winning an exciting helicopter flight simulator experience.

The trail race follows a spectacular route, starting and finishing in view of Balmoral Castle and taking in the Ballochbuie pine forest before skirting round the base of Lochnagar.

It attracts participants from a wide variety of backgrounds, from top internationals to more casual runners.

And all those who sign-up for the run before midnight on January 31, 2022 will be entered into a random draw with one lucky winner receiving a one-hour flight simulator package for themselves and a friend.

On top of that, the same prize will be awarded to the first man and woman to finish the race, which takes place on Sunday April 24, 2022.

Matt Rhodes, Bristow Director UK Oil & Gas, said: “We’re thrilled to be offering participants the chance to experience flying a helicopter at our unique simulator facility in Aberdeen as part of ongoing support of Run Balmoral.

“Our range of advanced simulators are an essential training tool for our pilots and use full motion technology, combined with realistic visuals to replicate the experience of flying in a variety of locations and weather conditions.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming the winners to our premises in Dyce for this one-of-a-kind experience.”

The Bristow 15 mile trail run is one of a series of races held over the Run Balmoral weekend when up to 5,000 competitors of all ages are expected to take part in the varied programme of events.

Full details at