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Athletics: Consistent training sees Metro Aberdeen’s Martin Mueller slash times and make big strides

Metro Aberdeen runner Martin Mueller.
Metro Aberdeen runner Martin Mueller.

Metro Aberdeen’s Martin Mueller is determined to improve his marathon and half marathon times – but the German runner has recently been showing good form over much shorter distances.

The postgraduate PhD chemistry student, from Mainz, has lived in Scotland for the past five years and over that period has knocked close to an hour off his best marathon time.

He recorded 3hr 40min 48secs for 416th position in the 2017 Loch Ness race, but last September he’d improved to such an extent that he was able to claim third spot in the Ambleside marathon with a time of 2:41:21.

It has been a similar story with the half marathon, with Mueller clocking 1:36:57 for 219th position at the 2017 Great Aberdeen race, while last November he got down to 1:13:08 for third place at Fraserburgh.

Mueller said: “I didn’t really start training properly until about 2019 and I joined Metro in 2020.

“I think the difference is that I’ve been training more consistently than before and that has made a big difference.

“I’m focusing mostly on marathons now, but I haven’t registered for one this Spring because I’m about to finish my PhD and I’m not sure where I’ll be in April or May.

“But I’ve signed up for the London marathon in October, so hopefully I can do well there.

“Meanwhile, I would like to run in the national cross country championships in February, then I’ve got the Inverness half marathon in March.”

Mueller isn’t sure what the future holds in terms of employment prospects, but admits he’d like to prolong his stay in the north-east.

He said: “It would be great to remain in Scotland, but it depends on whether I find a job here.

“There’s maybe better job prospects for me in Germany. So, we’ll have to see.”

In the meantime, Mueller has been testing his speed in the Aberdeen Proms 3k race series and notched his first victory in round four last weekend.

He was content to sit behind the leading group until the later stages of the beachfront run, before powering his way to victory.

It was a frantic finish as just five secs separated the top four finishers, with Mueller leading the way in 9:17.

Metro Aberdeen runner Martin Mueller.

Andrew Johnstone (Inverness Harriers) took second spot in 9:19, with Joe Battershill (Edinburgh University) third, 9:21, and Matthew Dailey (JS Kintore) fourth, 9:22.

Mueller said: “I was maybe five seconds behind the first three runners at the halfway turn and I didn’t overtake the leader until the final 500 metres.

“When I moved into the lead, the sun was behind me and I was aware there were no shadows behind, so I was reasonably confident I was safe.

“I’m pleased with the run as it’s a 19secs improvement on my previous best.”

Mueller opened the series in October by clocking 9:52 before improving to 9:36 in November. This latest result puts him into second position in the overall standings with two races remaining.

Each athlete’s three best times from the six races count towards determining the final prize winners.

But Mueller can’t go any higher as Aberdeen AAC’s Myles Edwards, who sat out the latest round, has already secured the title with an aggregate time of 25:45 from his three outings.

Aberdeen’s Myles Edwards.

Mueller said: “I will probably do the final two races in the series as I can still bring my average time down a bit more if the conditions are good.”

Todd strikes blow for the youngsters, but Tawse still leads women

The battle for honours in other divisions of the Proms series is now hotting up.

Shetland’s Layla Todd became the youngest winner of a Proms race in the 24-year history of the competition.

The 14 year-old Anderson High pupil held off a strong challenge from Rosie Hislop (Metro Aberdeen) to win the women’s division of the race by one second in a time of 11mins dead.

It was Todd’s first appearance in the Proms series, but it might not be her last as she is eyeing up possible outings in the final two rounds in February and March.

She said: “I really enjoyed it although it was windy. I’m happy with my time, although it’s a few seconds slower than I’ve run on the track.

“I’m down on the mainland as I have a couple of training camps to attend, so it was good to have this race.

“I have more training camps over the next few months, so if they are at the same time as the 3k races then it would be good to be able to do them.”

However, Aimee Tawse still holds pole position in the women’s competition, despite finishing third in the latest round.

The Aberdeen AAC teenager recorded 11:20 and has an aggregate time of 33:18 from her best three races.

Hislop now holds second position in the series, having improved her time with every outing.

She clocked 11:41 in November and 11:27 in December, before slicing another 26secs off her best time this month – giving her a total time of 34:09.

And, in what promises to be an exciting finale to the competition, it’s still possible for Hislop to close the gap on Tawse.

Aberdeen’s Elaine Wilson finished fourth in 11:28 and now holds on to third position in the series with an aggregate of 34:14.

Gillian Strachan (Fraserburgh Running Club) was fourth overall in 11:36 and that leaves her well clear in the masters classification with a total time of 35:12.

Paul Knight (Metro Aberdeen), who finished seventh last week in 9:46, leads the men’s 40-45 age group table and is now in third position overall.

The final two races in the series are on February 4 and March 4.