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Athletics: Alisha Rees makes long awaited return to the track following hamstring injury

Alisha Rees.
Alisha Rees.

Banchory Stonehaven AC sprinter Alisha Rees returns to action this weekend six months after limping off the track in agony at the European under-23 championships in Tallinn.

The Great Britain international is to compete in a couple of 60m races at the Manchester indoor meeting to test her form before a possible appearance for Scotland next month.

Rees, who graduated with a sociology degree from Loughborough University last summer, has chosen to remain in the Leicestershire town where her coach Leon Baptiste is based and where she has access to world class facilities.

She has fully recovered from the serious hamstring tear sustained when competing for GB in the 4x100m relay in Estonia and is looking forward to shaking off the cobwebs tomorrow.

She said: “After the Euros last July I took the rest of the summer off. I went home then took a couple of holidays with friends. I didn’t think about athletics. I needed some time to be away from it all.

“I think the break helped as I didn’t do anything to aggravate the injury because I was chilling out.

“I returned to Loughborough in September, got a treatment plan in place and everything has progressed from there.

“I have been free from injury all winter, other than a slight niggle in the other hamstring just before Christmas. That knocked me back by about one week, so I wasn’t quite ready for last weekend’s Scottish championships.

Alisha Rees has worked her way back to fitness following a serious hamstring injury.

“I needed that extra week to work on my start and a few other things so I’d be confident going into my first race for such a long time. Now I feel I’m ready.

“I know I’m in good shape and if at all goes well I’d hope to get a 60m run for Scotland in the Dynamic New Athletics meeting being held in Glasgow next weekend.

“It would be great to run there as the competition should be really good. And my parents would be able to come along and watch, which is something that hasn’t been possible for a long time.

“If I’m not selected then there’s another meeting I can do in Loughborough that weekend.

“And after that I’ll probably do the 60m at the British championships in Birmingham at the end of February.

“I’m keeping the indoor season quite tight as there’s a lot to go for in the summer.

“The Commonwealth Games is top of my list as I’d really love to do it. But I’m not putting any pressure on myself. I’ll aim to run as well as I can and see where that takes me.

“The last couple of years I’ve been a bit injury prone but hopefully in 2022 I’ll be fine and I can improve my times.”

Final indoor race for Clark

Olympic Games 4x400m relay runner Zoey Clark will bring the curtain down on her indoor season by competing against her Aberdeen clubmate Roisin Harrison and Banchory Stonehaven AC’s Kathryn Christie in an invitation 400m in Glasgow on Sunday.

Clark struck double gold at last weekend’s Scottish championships, breaking own national indoor 200m record and taking the 60m crown.

 Zoey Clark set a new Scottish indoor 200m record at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. Supplied by Bobby Gavin. 

But she is keen to test herself over her specialist distance before closing off her winter campaign in order to concentrate on preparing for a busy summer season in which she’s targeting world and European championships as well as the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Clark said: “I want to get a 400m race done just to see where I’m at with that distance, but then I’ll be finished with the indoors for this winter.”

Harrison made a major breakthrough over 400m last weekend in another invitation race at the Emirates Arena.

The Scottish 100m champion outdoors, made a rare appearance over the longer event and showed excellent form when clocking a personal best 53.80 to finish well clear of Pitreavie’s Rebecca Grieve who is also competing on Sunday.

It gave her a major boost ahead of next weekend’s DNA international in Glasgow where she’ll represent her native Ireland.

Harrison said: “It was amazing. I’m absolutely delighted but it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Hopefully I can run well again this weekend.”

Christie finished third last week in what was her first 400m race for almost eight years.

The former Scottish 100m and 200m champion, who has battled to overcome serious foot injuries for many years, was rewarded with a personal best 56.44.

Madrid mission for Simpson

Great Britain international Robbie Simpson makes the 400 mile journey from his Algarve training base to Madrid this weekend to compete in the Getafe half marathon.

The 30-year-old Banchory runner has spent the past month enjoying warm sunshine in Monte Gordo where he has been putting in some hard graft in preparation for the season ahead.

Simpson will get a good idea of his level of fitness when he competes against a field of 5,000 runners in Sunday’s race on the outskirts of the Spanish capital.

He is familiar with the set-up, having competed there on previous occasions with mixed outcomes.

He said: “I’m surprised at how well the training has gone. I feel I’ve been running really well but it’s still hard to know how it will work out in a race situation.

“I’ve done the Getafe half marathon three times. The first two were really good but the third was a disaster.

“I was fourth in 2016 with a time of 1hr 5min 4secs and the following year I was second in 1:04:40 which is one of my fastest times. I reckon that was one of my best half marathon performances because it’s quite a hilly course and Madrid is slightly at altitude.

“But the third time I was there, in 2018, I took the train from Calasparra where I had been staying. I took ill with a stomach bug and I was up most of the night before the race.

“There was no way I could do well so I decided to treat it as a training session and did an hour’s running beforehand. I ended up finishing ninth in 1:08:16.

“If I run around 65min on Sunday I’ll be happy enough.”