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Athletics: Fraserburgh’s Max Abernethy closing in on Scotland vest after latest cross country performance

Max Abernethy, right.
Picture by Scott Baxter
Max Abernethy, right. Picture by Scott Baxter

Fraserburgh athlete Max Abernethy is knocking hard on the door to international selection following his excellent win in the North District cross country championships at Gordonstoun.

The 20-year-old Aberdeen University student stormed round the muddy 8k course in 25min 40secs to leave some high quality competitors floundering in his wake.

Kenny Wilson (Moray Road Runners), Finlay Wild (Lochaber AC) and John Newsom (Inverness Harriers), who have all competed on the international stage in recent years, had no answer to the Rosehearty athlete’s strength and speed.

Wilson, the 2018 champion, finished 17secs behind, while mountain running star Wild was a further 11 secs adrift. Newsom, the 2019 champion, who is unbeaten in the North league this season, was fourth in 26:40.

Abernethy is the first Fraserburgh athlete to win the men’s title in the long history of the competition. Indeed, the only Broch runner to have previously earned a place on the podium was Charlie McIntyre, who finished third 30 years ago.

Charlie’s son Keith was in action at Gordonstoun, finishing eighth to earn a place on the North team for the Scottish Inter District championships at Irvine in January.

Abernethy showed great composure to sit in with the vastly experienced Wilson and Wild for much of the contest before pulling ahead to win.

He said: “I’m really chuffed with that. It was a good race between the three of us and I had to work hard.

“On the first of the two 4k laps, we each had spells at the front, but going into the second lap we were still together.

“There’s a little trail section early in the second lap and that’s where I began to get a bit of a gap. I put in a hard effort to extend my lead over Kenny and fortunately I managed to hold him off.

“Once I got away I never looked back, although I felt he was probably closer to me than it turned out.

“The course was very muddy and got quite churned up in places, so it was tough going, but I’m obviously very happy.”

Abernethy will now turn his attention to the Inter District championships, in which he’ll represent the Scotland student team. He also plans to tackle February’s British Student championships to be hosted by Brunel University in London.

Abernethy will end his cross country season with the Scottish senior championships at Falkirk on February 26.

Fraserburgh also enjoyed success in the under-13 boys’ 3k championship race at Gordonstoun where Israel Noble bolted clear of the opposition to win in fine style, completing the course in 13:16. Finlay Mcluckie (Elgin AAC) was second, 13:57, and Rowan Schiller (Ross County AC) was third, 14:20.

Edwards runs Proms 3k in 8:31

Myles Edwards broke his own course record for the second time this year when recording an emphatic victory in the third round of the Metro Proms 3k road race series at Aberdeen Beach.

The Aberdeen AAC runner led from the start and went on to complete the beachfront course in 8min 31secs. That’s four secs quicker than the previous record he posted in the October round of the series, while he also clocked 8:39 in November.

Edwards now holds the three quickest times recorded in the 135 races held over the 24-year history of the competition.

It shows his preparations for the Scottish indoor 3k championships early in the new year are going well.

Aberdeen’s Myles Edwards.

He said: “I’m pleased with that. It’s good to break the record again.

“My training for the indoors is going well and I’ll be aiming to run faster when it comes around.

“I’d like to think I can get down closer to 8:15, but we’ll see. Ideally it would be good to get another indoor race before then, but I’m not sure if there’s anything on.”

Veteran Michael Barker was a distant runner-up in 9:53, two secs ahead of Ross Macdonald (Plymouth Muskateers), while Paul Knight (Metro Aberdeen) was fourth in 10:03.

After finishing second and fourth in the previous rounds, Aimee Tawse (Aberdeen AAC) kept her hopes of winning the women’s series on track with a fine win in 11:05.

Aberdeen’s Elaine Wilson also remains in contention after finishing second in her best time of 11:19. Rosie Hislop (Metro Aberdeen) was third in a personal best 11:27, while Gillian Strachan (Fraserburgh Running Club) was fourth, and first veteran, in 11:44.

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