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Athletics: Record-breaking display from Aberdeen sprint sensation Zoey Clark in Glasgow

Zoey Clark was in record-breaking form in Glasgow
Zoey Clark was in record-breaking form in Glasgow

Aberdeen sprint star Zoey Clark is adamant she’ll end her indoor season next weekend after hitting record-breaking form at the 4J Scottish championships.

The Tokyo Olympic Games 4x400m relay runner struck national double gold at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena at the weekend, winning the 60m in 7.50secs after an epic battle with Leeds athlete Hilary Gode, before going on to lower her Scottish record to 23.36sec with an emphatic win in the 200m.

That’s an improvement on the 23.58 she ran at the same venue four years ago.

But, although there’s plenty of enticing indoor action taking place in the weeks ahead, including Glasgow’s novel Dynamic New Athletics Meeting, Birmingham’s British championships and Belgrade’s world championships, the 27-year-old is resisting all temptations.

Her focus remains on the summer when there’s world and European outdoor championships to look forward to, as well as the Commonwealth Games.

Clark said: “I’m having to stick to my guns on this one, especially as I’m running well. I think for once I’m not going to be swayed by external influences. The plan seems to be working well so far, so I want to stay with that.

“I hope to get a 400m race next weekend just to see where I’m at with that distance, but then I’ll be finished with the indoors for this winter.”

Clark was in impressive form at the national championships in which she tackled five races.

She said: “It was a very long day, but it went well. I had heats and a final in the 60m then heats, semi and final in the 200.

“I was hoping for fewer rounds, but it worked out well.

“I had about one hour between each race, so I was never out of the warm up area.

“I’m pleased with the 200 record as it also equals my outdoor best. I knew from the semi-final, when I eased down to run a very comfortable 23.59, that there was a lot more to come.”

Clark’s training partner Rebecca Matheson also enjoyed success as she took bronze in the 60m (7.63) and in the 200 (24.61).

Another Aberdeen athlete, Jane Davidson, won the 60m hurdles, dipping for the line to take gold in 8.80 ahead of Erin Campbell (Giffnock North, 8.82) and Holly McArthur (Edinburgh AC, 8.91), while Catriona Pennet (Aberdeen AAC) was fourth, 9.00.

Ross County’s Daniel McFarlane was an unchallenged winner of the men’s 60m hurdles in 9.71, while Banchory Stonehaven AC’s Claire McGarvey took silver (1.74m) behind Ireland international Sommer Lecky (1.79m) in the women’s high jump. Sinclair Patience (Inverness Harriers) struck bronze in the men’s shot, throwing 14.62m.

North-east athletes picked up four golds in the under-17 national championships.

Aberdeen AAC’s Hannah Taylor won the women’s 800m in 2:16.62, with clubmate Grace MacDonald third, 2:17.99, while Rhys Crawford pipped his clubmate Aleksandar Jovcic by 0.15secs to take the men’s 800 in 1:59.28.

Rosie Meyer won the pole vault, 2.64, and Banchory Stonehaven AC’s Ellen Macleod won the high jump, 1.54.

MacLennan takes third in Northern Ireland

Mhairi Maclennan on her way to winning the Scottish Inter District cross country championships at Irvine.

The Inverness Harriers duo of Mhairi MacLennan and Megan Keith were in excellent form when representing Scotland in the World Athletics Northern Ireland international cross country meeting at Dundonald near Belfast.

Kenya’s Hellen Obiri, the double 5,000m world champion and Tokyo Olympic silver medallist, led from the start to comfortably win the 8k race in 26min 44 secs.
Hannah Irwin (NI and Ulster) was runner-up, 27:04, while MacLennan was close behind in third position, 27:07.

Keith, competing for the first time since winning the European under-20 title in December, finished fourth, first in the under-23 age division, in 27:25.

Former Robert Gordon University student Scout Adkin was eighth, 27:41.

Keith’s performance propelled Scotland to victory in the Celtic Nations team competition.

Aberdeen AAC’s Kirsty Purcell helped Scotland win the Home Nations and Celtic Nations team competitions in the under-20 women’s race.

Scots Hannah Ryding and Louisa Brown dominated the race by taking the top two positions, completing the 4k course in 13:56 and 14:11 respectively.

Purcell was third scorer, finishing 1oth overall in 14:52.

Meanwhile, Sean Chalmers (Inverness Harriers) recorded a personal best time of 1:04:22 when finishing five secs behind England international Andrew Heyes (Hallamshire) in the Farnborough half marathon.

The Aberdeen-based athlete’s previous best of 1:05:16 was set at the Antrim coast race in 2020.

Elsewhere, Max Abernethy recorded the seventh-quickest parkrun 5k time in the UK at the weekend.

The Fraserburgh athlete was 11 secs outside his personal best when completing the Aberdeen parkrun course in 15min 15 secs ahead of a field of 429.

Great Britain mountain running international Andy Douglas, from Caithness, meanwhile, set a course record 15:28 at the Vogrie parkrun in Gorebridge.

Twist in North District cross country league title race

Kirstie Rogan (Highland Hill Runners) blew wide open the battle for the senior women’s title in the North District cross country league after notching an impressive win in the third round of the competition at Lyne of Skene.

League leader Catriona Fraser-Lennox (Inverness Harriers) went into the fixture on the back of two victories in the earlier rounds.

But Rogan, who got the better of her rival in the Scottish Inter District championships earlier in the month, rose to the challenge again to complete the 6.9k race in 27min 12secs to finish 43secs ahead of Fraser-Lennox. JS Kintore’s Emma Murray was third in 28:13.

So, there’s still all to play for with two fixtures remaining next month, at Nairn (February 5) and Forres (February 19).

A similar situation is emerging in the men’s league, with John Newsom (Inverness Harriers) having built-up a strong lead with two victories prior to the latest match.

But Moray’s Kenny Wilson blasted his way to a clear-cut victory at Lyne of Skene, covering the 9/2k route in 30:11, finishing 42secs ahead of his clubmate Ewan Davidson, with Newsom taking third spot in 31:22.

Wilson can secure the top award if he can win the final two races.

Roy Taylor (Elgin AAC) and Katie Slimon (Highland Hill Runners) enhanced their chances of winning the under-17 men’s and women’s leagues respectively after fine victories over the Lyne of Skene course.

Andrew Baird (Ross County) secured the under-15 boys’ league title with his third win of the campaign, putting him in an uncatchable position in the points table, while Lois Macrae (Inverness Harriers) has similarly cinched the under-13 girls’ title.