Laura Muir will defend her Scottish 4K XC title as Kirkcaldy plays host to the Lindsays Short Course Championships.
The double European Indoors gold medallist will be competing for the first time since racing to sixth place in the 5000m final at the World Champs in front of a packed stadium at London 2017.
Muir has won this title for the past two years, at Bellahouston in 2015 and then at Renfrew last year, and in fact is looking for a fourth win in five years with only Rhona Auckland having broken that sequence with the gold in 2014.
Big numbers once again mean both the women’s and the men’s race should be keenly-contested through the field as hundreds of U17 and U15 athleters also gather at the Kirkcaldy High School venue, which has hosted Scottish Primary School XC races in recent years.
It’s a well-known location for Kirkcaldy’s Steph Pennycook and GB internationals like Josephine Moultrie and U20 Athlete of the Year Jemma Reekie, while Central AC’s Morag MacLarty was fastest at the Lindsays XC National Relays.
Laura announced her plans to race when interviewed by Jenny Meadows at the FPSG Awards Dinner to cheers of approval from a packed audience at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow.
‘I always like to race in Scotland if and when I am able to fit it into other competition plans,’ she said Laura, who will represent Glasgow Uni on Saturday.
‘I’ve raced the 4K for the past few years and I really enjoy it. I always think cross country at this time of year helps give you a good base for the following season on the track.
‘It’s been a while because I’ve not raced since the World Champs- with the last one being the 5000m final. I’m looking forward to it and always enjoy racing and meeting up with athletes I’ve known for many years.’
Central are defending both the women’s and men’s race titles – with the men looking to make it a hat-trick of successes in this particular 4K Champs.
In terms of the individual medals, those in contention could well include two athletes who represented Scotland with distinction at the Leeds 10K last weekend – Logan Rees of Fife AC and Lachlan Oates of Shettleston Harriers. Both recorded PB performances on the road.
As that was happening in Leeds, Sol Sweeney of Glasgow Uni and Aberdeen AAC’s Michael Ferguson fought out a tough battle in the Scottish Unis over 9K. GB international Sweeney won that one, as he prepares for the Euro Cross trials in Liverpool later this month.
That men’s race looks to have a whole host of contenders and some of those to look our for may well include Broc Drury (Aberdeen AAC); Ross Matheson (Lasswade AAC); Connor Maclean (Stornoway RAC); Euan Gillham (Kilbarchan AAC); Calum McKenzie (Corstorphine AAC); Craig Ruddy (Inverclyde AC); Cameron Boyek (Central AC).
U20 medallists last year, Connor Maclean (centre), Sol Sweeney and Logan Rees are all expected to feature prominently again at Kirkcaldy (photo by Bobby Gavin)
The U15 races kick things off on Saturday with the Girls at 11.30am followed by the boys at 11.45am. The race distance for this age group – with individual and team medals on offer – is 2k.
Then it is the turn of the U17s to contest national championship honours over a course of 3k. The U17 Women’s race is at 12 noon followed by the U17 Men running at 12.20pm.
11.30: U15 Girls 2000m
11.45: U15 Boys 2000m
12.00: U17 Women 3000m
12.20: U17 Men 3000m
12.40: Sen/Jun Women 4000m
13.05: Sen/Jun Men 4000m