Aberdeen AAC athlete Will MacKay endured a stressful – and lengthy – journey to the Glasgow Athletics Association Miler Meet but returned north thrilled after landing a fine track hat-trick at Hutchesons Grammar.
MacKay claimed a PB, a Scottish title gold and a half share of £200 prize money after both he and Senior Women’s Scottish champion, Central AC’s Lyndsay Morrison, broke the target times set by the GAA.
Morrison clocked a track and road PB of 35.23.32 to win from club-mate Fanni Gyurko and Ronhill Cambuslang’s Katie Bristow in the first of four races on a night when four GB internationals – Luke Traynor, Mark Pollard, Craig Ruddy and Jonny Glen – undertook pacemaking and Olympian Lynne MacDougall was deployed with lap counter board duties.
MacKay, headed for the London Marathon in nine days where he is targeting 2.25, won it by less than three seconds from Ronhill Cambuslang’s Kyle McLellan with the winning time of 30.30.35 under the 31.00 required for the prize-money.
Kyle was just too late in closing the gap at 30.32.31 with Stuart Gibson of Ronhill Cambuslang home in third in 31.17.28.
That ensured three clubs were represented by the six medallists as 31 athletes finished four races – with 26 of them below the 38-minute mark. MacKay and Morrison each landed £100 after beating the pre-race targets of 31.00 for men and 35.30 for women.
‘I moved to Aberdeen for work reasons last November and immediately joined the club there,’ said Englishman MacKay, who works for BP in the Granite City. Will recently won a half marathon in Lossiemouth in 68.55 and he became the first Aberdeen athlete to win this title for 36 years.
‘I’d a four and a half hour journey south for this and it was pretty stressful but it is worth it to get a good PB. I wasn’t as fast as the other guys on paper so I wasn’t really expecting to up there with the pacemaker.
‘But maybe it was just about getting in a race like this and I am delighted. London is coming up in nine days and I’ve run 2.31 before but would love to get 2.25 this time.
‘I don’t see me doing too much in May after the London Marathon but I will be on the track in Scotland later in the summer, and maybe back at the GAA Miler Meets for the 3000m and the 5000m. I think I need to improve my PBs there.’
Morrison was delighted with her PB for the distance as Gyurko clocked 35.48.23 and Bristow 36.04.93. Only winner Fiona Matheson beat those three times in 2014. For Bristow, it was good preparation for an Island Games 10,000m with Shetland in Jersey in the summer.
‘I enjoyed that and I’m delighted to win a Scottish Senior title, ‘ said Morrison.
‘It was a PB for me on the track or on the road so I have to be very happy with that and the pacemaker (John Sharp) did really well for me. I thought he was going awfully slow on the first lap but it just shows you the benefit of having someone to do that when they prove as consistent as he did.
‘I ran a 10,000m on the track a few years ago and at the time I never wanted to do another one! But this might just be the start of something for me because it felt pretty good. Maybe it can kick-start me a little bit.
‘I am being coached by Derek Easton and he says that I’ve spent too much time at weddings and hen parties over the past couple of years! I did tear my hamstring at one point, as well, and that sets you back a bit. I think all the weddings have now taken place . . .
‘Earlier in the week I had a wee bug and thought about not running but it cleared up and I am so glad I did. I think this is a good event and athletes are grateful to the GAA and scottishathletics for putting it on.’
Stuart Milne of Metro Aberdeen won the C race in 34.10.14 while the B race was won by Edinburgh AC’s Stuart Johnston in 32.21.70. Johnston was the M35 gold medallist, in fact, on an evening which wasn’t only about the Seniors, as a number of Masters excelled to take age group medals in the Scottish champs.
*The Scottish 5k road champs are shaping up well with over 300 entries, including Commonwealth Games athlete Callum Hawkins. Silverknowes in Edinburgh is the venue on Wednesday 29 April with GB U20 cross country internationals Jonny Glen and Euan Gillham in a field which also includes Tewolde Mengisteab, Scott McDonald and Craig Ruddy. The Women’s top entries include Jo Moultrie, Jenn Wetton and Sarah Inglis.