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Athletics: Michael Ferguson and Myles Edwards relishing double-header

Myles Edwards.
Myles Edwards.

Aberdeen athletes Michael Ferguson and Myles Edwards have an exhausting weekend ahead as the Scotland international runners will tackle two domestic championship events at opposite ends of the country.

First up is a trip to Livingston on Saturday to compete for Aberdeen AAC in the Scottish six-stage road relay championships.

And 24 hours later the duo will represent their English club, Thames Valley Harriers, in the South of England 12-stage road relay championships at Milton Keynes.

Aberdeen AAC has never won the Scottish relay title, with just two bronze medal placings – in 1981 and 1989 – coming the way of the city club.

Ferguson doesn’t see that situation changing this weekend.

He said: “We have a solid team but not one which will be challenging for medals. I reckon a top 10 position is probably a realistic target.

“We have a decent squad with myself, Myles, Aaron Odentz, Fearghas Thomson, Adam Brown and Sam Griffin.

“But, there’s a question mark over Aaron as he is recovering from illness, so we’ll see how he’s feeling. Eoghan Macnamara might come in.

“Afterwards Myles and myself will be catching a flight to Luton for the 12-stage relay on Sunday. So, it’s going to be a busy weekend.

“I’ve joined Thames Valley as that opens up a few more opportunities for me to get into some good track races. I’m targetting the 1500m again this season, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Michael Ferguson.

Hamish Hickey, from Strathpeffer, and Aberdeen University student Tom Graham-Marr, are in the Central AC squad bidding to win the Scottish road relay title for the first time since 2017.

Metro Aberdeen will field a strong side in the masters race with Jim Tole, Allan Christie, Paul Knight, Nick Milovsorov, Wayne Dashper, Steve Buchan and Stevie Morrison all listed.

Scotland international Naomi Lang heads the Aberdeen AAC women’s squad for the four-stage championship race. Hannah Cameron, Zoe Bates and twins Kirsty and Caitlin Purcell are the others in contention for a place in the starting line-up.

Meanwhile, Sean Chalmers (Inverness Harriers) is aiming for a fast time when he represents Scotland in Sunday’s Cardiff international half marathon.

The Aberdeen-based runner set his personal best time of 1hr 4min 22secs at Farnborough in January.

And earlier this month he became the first member of his club to win the Inverness half marathon in the 37-year history of the event, clocking 1:06:16 on a windy day.

He said: “It took me a little longer than I hoped to recover from Inverness, but I reckon I’ll be fine.

“I hope to get into a group going at around 4:30 mile pace and try to hang on to that for as long as possible.”

His clubmate Mhairi MacLennan has withdrawn from the Scotland women’s team in order to focus on preparing for the track season.

Emma stepping up marathon prep

Emma Watt will tune-up for the following weekend’s Manchester marathon by lining-up with a capacity field of 350 runners in Saturday’s Newburgh Beach Bash 10k.

The JS Kintore club member led home the women’s division of the race in 2019 and was runner-up behind Metro Aberdeen’s Debbie Greig when the race was last held, in 2020.

Emma Watt.

It’s not known whether Greig will compete this weekend but Jenni Rees-Jenkins (Insch Trail Running Club), who won the women’s title at the inaugural race in 2015 and was runner-up behind Watt in 2019, is to be there.

Another contender for the top prize is teenager Aimee Tawse (Aberdeen AAC) who recently won the Metro Aberdeen Winter Proms 3k race series. Susan Strachan (Peterhead AAC), the 2018 winner, is also in the field.

Kyle Greig (Metro Aberdeen) set the men’s course record of 36:19 when winning in 2020.

The Scotland ultra distance international runner isn’t expected to part on this occasion as he is preparing for the following weekend’s Anglo Celtic Plate 100k at Perth.

That could open the door for Martin Burns from the host club, Newburgh Dunes, to finally claim top spot on the podium.

Burns finished third in the first four editions of the race before moving up to second position in 2019 then taking fifth spot in 2020.

Meanwhile, James Wilson and Ewan Davidson look likely to be battling for the top prize in Sunday’s Moray 10k at Miltonduff.

The Moray Road Runners duo were separated by just four seconds in the Nairn 10k at the beginning of the month, Wilson completing the course in 32:13 to finish second overall behind Fraserburgh’s Max Abernethy while Davidson was third.

Abernethy is an absentee this weekend. Moray’s Michelle Slater and Louise Cartmell are among the leading contenders for the women’s title.

Moray races set to return

The Moray Ultra Trail racing series is to return in 2022 and will kick off with the Coastal Trail 50 mile race on May 14.

The route takes runners from Grant Park in Forres, to Findhorn, where it then follows the coastline to the finish line in Cullen.

Metro Aberdeen’s international trail runner Kyle Greig launched the successful series in 2021, but hopes for a more relaxed opening race this year.

Last May he had to leave Aberdeen Royal Infirmary just two hours after wife Debbie gave birth to the couple’s second son, to get to Forres for the start of the race.

He said: “It was extremely stressful but I was running on adrenaline, pride and love. The participants and their supporters were all incredibly excited when I told them what I had been up to that night.”

The series also includes the Moray Way 100 miles (June 25), the Speyside Way races (August 20) and the Dava Way 5ok (November 12).

A new feature of the 100 mile race is that runners have the choice of tackling it as a solo effort or as part of a four-person relay team.

Debbie, who is co-race director alongside Kyle, explained the background to the series.

She said:  “With so many people struggling with a lack of motivation and even depression during lockdown, a series of running races that adhered strictly to government restrictions and showcasing the area could only be a good thing.

“We didn’t expect it to be so popular and we enjoyed putting them on so much that we hope to continue the series and grow it every year.

“We got our wedding photos taken in Roseisle forest, part of the course, which shows just how much this area means to us.”

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