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Athletics: Fraserburgh’s Max Abernethy adds North 10k road race title to cross country crown

Max Abernethy, white vest, led from start to finish at Nairn to take the North 10k Road Race title.
Max Abernethy, white vest, led from start to finish at Nairn to take the North 10k Road Race title.

Despite feeling a little below par, Max Abernethy swept aside a field of 238 runners to win the North District 10k road running title at Nairn.

The Fraserburgh athlete, who also struck gold in the North cross country championships last December, was happy with his win – but wasn’t entirely satisfied with his time of 31min 51ecs, which was below what he hoped to achieve.

He said: “I was on target for the time I wanted to run at the halfway point, but it was feeling tougher than it should have been.

“I struggled in the second half of the race. I’m not sure what the problem might have been, but I had a bit of a sore throat beforehand and wasn’t feeling at my best. I was really tired at the end, but it’s a good race and I’m pleased to have won.

“I’ll take a few easy days to recover before starting my build-up to the Balmoral 5k in April and the Scottish 5k championship road race at Edinburgh in May.

James Wilson took second position in 32:14, with his Moray Road Runners clubmate Ewan Davidson four secs behind in third position.

Lucas Cairns (Inverness Harriers) led the way in the under-20 men’s competition when finishing fifth overall in 35:00, while Jack Trevelyan (Highland Hill Runners) was first over-40, ninth overall, in 36:25.

Catriona Fraser-Lennox (Inverness Harriers) tuned up for next weekend’s Inverness half marathon by winning the women’s title in 36:49. She said: “I’m pleased, but I wanted to save a little back for the half marathon. Then I’ve got the Manchester marathon to look forward to at the beginning of April.”

Sarah Attwood (Skye and Lochalsh) was runner-up, but was first in the over-40 age division in 38:10, while Metro Aberdeen’s Robyn Pinder took third spot in 39:29.

Inverness’ Kirsty Law battling injury issue

Discus thrower Kirsty Law (Inverness Harriers) hopes to overcome a troublesome hip problem before representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the European Winter Throws Cup at Leiria, Portugal next weekend.

The Loughborough-based athlete, a two-time British champion and 13-time Scottish champion, has a personal best of 60.13m set last August. But she opened her 2022 campaign earlier in the month with a modest 54.69.

She said: “I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in until hurting myself during a training trip to Doha.

“I had thrown 61m in training there, but then I got hurt. I fell over, but I’d felt things a bit tight before that happened. My hip, glutes, groin, everything just tightened up. My neck was sore and I really thought I’d done something really bad.

“But I’ve been getting treatment and it’s helping. I’m beginning to feel free again rather than locked, but it’s still not perfect. I managed a 59m throw in training, but the next day I only managed 54 in a competition at Loughborough, so it’s a bit up and down.

Law has big hopes for the summer season with World and European championships in her sights, as well as the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. She has already achieved the Commonwealth qualifying standard, but needs to do more for the other championships.

Law said: “I want to do well in Portugal, because it’s an important competition for gaining points for the world and Europeans. I still think I can do something decent, but it depends how things go this week.”

Kirsty Law in Great Britain colours.

Her plans also include a trip to the US in April for more warm weather training and competition.

She said: “I’m hoping to go to Chula Vista in California, but it’s extremely expensive. Even to use the training facilities costs £44 per day and I’ll be there for around four weeks.

“But that’s where I need to be for the good conditions and the good competition. I hope to get four or five competitions while I’m there.”

Meanwhile, there was disappointment for Burghead hammer thrower Mark Dry, who wasn’t given a place on the team for Portugal.

The double Commonwealth Games bronze medalist returned to competition last month after three years on the sidelines. Injury had ruled him out for a spell before he received a lengthy ban relating to his explanation for a missed drugs test.

Dry has already set two Commonwealth Games qualifying standards this year and last weekend got the better of fellow Scot Chris Bennett. Bennett has, however, been selected for Portugal.

Elsewhere, two members of Inverness Harriers have been selected for the Scotland team competing in the Cardiff half marathon on March 27.

Sean Chalmers is to run in the men’s race, while Scottish cross country champion Mhairi MacLennan makes her half marathon debut in the women’s event.

Another strong showing from Aberdeen AAC’s Myles Edwards in Metro Proms

Myles Edwards (Aberdeen AAC) was just four secs outside his own course record when winning the sixth and final race in the Metro Aberdeen Winter Proms 3k road race series.

The Scottish indoor 1500m champion completed the out-and-back course along the upper and lower promenades at Aberdeen beach in 8min 35secs to finish well ahead of the rest of the field.

With each athlete’s three best times from the six races counting, Edwards had already won the men’s title.

Prior to this season, he held the course record of 8:38 set in 2014-2015, but this winter he took that down to 8:31 and recorded 8:35 on two occasions. The slowest of his four appearances was 8:39. Understandably, he also set the series record with a cumulative time of 25:41.

Martin Mueller (Metro Aberdeen) finished second in the final race in 9:16 and he secured the runner-up position in the series. His clubmate Paul Knight was fifth in 9:54, but he secured the over-40 age group title.

Scotland international Naomi Lang (Aberdeen AAC) made her first appearance in the series and scored a comprehensive victory in the women’s division of the race when placing fourth overall in 9:52.

Rosie Hislop (Metro Aberdeen) set a personal best 10:56 when finishing second, but that wasn’t enough to dislodge Aimee Tawse (Aberdeen AAC) from top spot in the women’s standings.

Tawse finished third in race six in 10:59 and that gave her an overall cumulative time of 33:00, 24secs better than Hislop.

Fourth-placed Julie Hoyle (JS Kintore), 11:16, clinched the over-40 women’s award.