Claire Bruce feels she has unfinished business to deal with at the Manchester marathon.
The Metro Aberdeen runner set a personal best time there in October when clocking 2hr 53min 30secs – which gave her sixth position in the women’s division of the race. It’s also the ninth fastest time by a Scot this year.
But Bruce is aiming to substantially improve on that performance when she returns to Manchester for the 2022 edition of the race which will take place on April 3.
She said: “My training over the winter will be focussed on Manchester. I’ll be working on my speed in December and January before doing more marathon specific work.
“I was happy with my time in October but I got a stitch at mile 12 which then affected my refuelling for the rest of the race as I didn’t feel as though I could risk taking anything on board. As a result I slowed down over the final three or four miles.
“Also, I’d had pleurisy during the summer, so I had a fairly short build-up to the race. Given these circumstances, it was a good result. However, I’ll be aiming to take my time down significantly next April, but by how much remains to be seen.
“It seems certain to be a good field as I’ve heard it’s to be the trial for the England Commonwealth Games team.”
In the meantime Bruce will be in action today when she represents her club in the East District cross country championships at Stirling.
Metro Aberdeen has a fine record in the women’s championship. Over the past four seasons the north-east club has finished in the silver medal position on three occasions and has once taken bronze.
Bruce, along with Ginie Barrand, has been in all four medal winning sides over that period and both are in the squad tomorrow.
But injuries might hamper any hopes of winning the title for the first time.
Bruce said: “I’m not sure if we’ll be at 100%. Ginie has a niggle and Nicola MacDonald may also be missing.
“But I’m still giving it a go. It will be my first cross country race since the Inter District championships in January 2020 but I’m not sure if I’ll do any others. There’s the national cross country championships in February but I’ll probably only do that if we have a strong team.”
Bruce, who won last month’s Fraserburgh half marathon, hopes to fit in a few road races before heading for Manchester in the Spring.
She said: “I’m planning to do the Tilli 10k at Tillicoultry on December 27. I ran there a couple of years ago and it’s a good fast course. I’ve also signed up for the Inverness half marathon in March.
“I’d also like to fit in a spell of warm weather training in the new year but that will depend on whether there’s any new travel restrictions being put in place.”
Sean Chalmers keen to test himself
Scotland international Sean Chalmers is to run in tomorrow’s GEF Safari Series 3k at Kingswells before stepping up his preparations for a marathon debut in Spain next year.
The Inverness Harriers club member, who is a PE teacher in Aberdeen, is to compete in the Sevilla marathon on February 20.
It’s a top class event which has World Athletics Gold Label status and always attracts a high calibre field of elite athletes.
Chalmers, who has impressed over 5k, 10k and half marathon on the roads, is keen to test himself over the longer distance.
He said: “The plan is to run at Sevilla and I’ll be starting my build up this week. I don’t have many races beforehand other than the Tilli 10k at Tillicoultry on December 27. There’s going to be a good field and I believe it’s a quick course.
“I’d like to get a 10k or half marathon in January but there’s not much on at that time of year. I’ll keep looking and hopefully I’ll be able to fit something in.”
Chalmers was disappointed with his showing in last weekend’s Great Britain European cross country team trials at Liverpool where he finished 66th.
He said: “I don’t know what happened. I felt I was in good shape and I started off hard, as I’d planned. Then it all started to go wrong and I began falling back into the 30s. My head went and I drifted further back. By that stage I wasn’t caring where I finished.”
It was a bad day but it got worse for Chalmers when all trains from Liverpool were cancelled because of Storm Arwen.
He said: “It was Saturday evening and I was told there would be no trains until Monday. I tried to get a bus but all that was available was to take one from Liverpool to London then another up to Edinburgh.
“I tried calling a few people and thankfully one of the other runners, Tom Graham-Marr, gave me a lift to Stirling and I was able to get a train from there.”
Chalmers is clear favourite to win tomorrow’s 3k which is being held to raise funds for the Gathimba Edwards Foundation. The charity, co-founded by Aberdeen athlete Myles Edwards, supports under-priviliged children and families in Kenya.
The race, sponsored by Drum Property, is being held on a fast circuit around the Prime Four Business park at Kingswells.
The women’s division of the run has the potential to produce an exciting contest. In an earlier race in the Safari series, a 5k at Hazlehead, Aberdeen AAC teenager Aimee Tawse finished one sec ahead of Elaine Wilson while Rhian Birnie (Young Meldrum Runners) wasn’t far behind in third position. All three plan to take part again tomorrow as will Chloe Gray (Metro Aberdeen) and ultra distance specialist Sarah Milne.