Scotland proved the best of British at the Commonwealth Games marathon with Susan Partridge and Derek Hawkins in fine form.
Partridge finished in sixth place in the women’s race and was satisfied that her tactics had given her a chance of the medals before she finished in 2.32.18.
That sixth place is the third best achieved by a Team Scotland athlete in the women’s marathon at the Commonwealths.
Hawkins for his part was only 11 seconds off his PB for ninth place in the men’s race at 2.14.15 with only Australians, Kenyans and Ugandans ahead of the Kilbarchan AAC athlete as Aussie Michael Shelley won in 2.11.15.
It was a special day for that club, in particular, as Hayley Haining became the oldest Scottish athlete to appear in track, field and marathon at the age of 42.
Hayley finished in 13th place in 2.40.40 and was thrilled her son Elliot, four next week, was there to see it in Glasgow’s Pollok Park.
Joasia Zakrzewski was only one place below her fellow Scot in 14th in 2.45.29 with the doctor from Dumfries picking off two or three athletes on the second lap.
Ross Houston was 16th in the men’s race with the Central AC runner’s time of 2.18.42 very similar to Derek’s in terms of his own PB – only 14 seconds short of his previous best.
Derek Hawkins said: ‘I really enjoyed it today, it was quite blustery out towards Bellahouston Park which made the second part quite tough but the crowd support were unbelievable.
‘The second half of that second lap they were just so loud they managed to pull me through to the end. They were so loud.
‘When the finish line was in sight it was a case of: ‘Thank goodness that’s over!’ I really enjoyed it, the noise was unbelievable, especially when they started banging the boards.’
Ross Houston said: ‘I am happy with my run, it was pretty much what I had hoped for. I’ve gone very close indeed to my PB and it is a tough course in many ways. The whole atmosphere of it all, running through Glasgow like that, was something special.
‘The noise was deafening at times and it spurs you on. I ran with the Welsh athlete, Andrew Davies, for most of it but pulled away from him towards the end. It was an amazing feeling to compete in that.’
Susan Partridge had no regrets at staying with the early pace before a group of seven was cut to three, albeit that later in the race the Australian Jess Trengove did superbly well to claim bronze in a race won by Kenyan Flomena Cheyech Daniel in 2.26.45.
Susan said: ‘It was an unbelievable experience. Of course it would have been great to get a medal. But the way it was going today it wasn’t going to happen today. I ran a reasonable race, I put myself in the right positions to take advantage of any openings, I tried to go with people when they were trying to drop me. So I’ve no regrets. There’s nothing I felt I did wrong.’
Hayley Haining said: ‘It was emotional for me today. My son, Elliot, will be four next week and I saw him and all his pals with Paul in Pollok Park.
‘I felt it was very important to finish the race following the death of my coach (Derek Parker) a couple of months ago. My tactics were all about being conservative at first and then trying to finish strongly and that’s what I did.’
Joasia Zakrzewski said: ‘It was what I had hoped for. It is pretty tough running 26 miles on your own into a headwind. I’ve picked a few people off ultimately and I started thinking about the ‘team prize’.
‘The crowds were amazing in the city centre – even the youngster who gave me a high-five and almost knocked me over. But, later, in Pollok Park it felt as if I was out on a run on my own! I am thrilled to have competed for Scotland in a Commonwealth Games.’
*Picture by Bobby Gavin
Team Scotland will have three women in the hammer final on Monday evening following qualification on the opening day of track and field action.
Susan McKelvie, Rachel Hunter and Myra Perkins all made it as 12 women (from 17) went through at Hampden.
Luke Caldwell finished 13th in his 5000m final and was blown away by the noise of the home crowd – with the Oxford graduate due back in the 10,000m on Friday night.
McKelvie missed out on the last two Commonwealth Games by centimetres in qualifying and one 62m throw was enough to earn her fifth place in qualifying with her two other throws fouls.
Hunter reached 61.91m as she opened the competition itself with 60.96 and improved on each throw. Myra Perkins only just squeezed through in 12th place with 57.70m.
Susan McKelvie said: ‘I am in the final and that was the target. Luckily, one throw was enough for me after waiting a few years to throw for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games.
‘There were a few thing wrong technically but I’ve qualified in fifth place and feel there is more to come. It is great we’ve three Scots in the final.’
Rachel Hunter, who qualified in sixth, said: ‘I have not thrown all that far but it has been enough to get me throw. I had to open the competition and in front of that crowd, roaring when your name was read out, was pretty amazing.
‘I started to enjoy it and I’m in the final.’
Perkins said: ‘I’ve made it by the skin of my teeth. It was not the plan to be there in 12th place. Tomorrow is a new day and I will take it from there.
‘I think the late Alan Bertram (hammer guru for many Scottish athletes) would have been pretty pleased with three of us in the hammer final.’
Caldwell’s time of 13.43.75 was short of his PB for 5,000m as he was watched at Hampden by his 92-year-old grandfather and other family members and friends.
He said: ‘Those guys are pretty good! I feel I’m just reaching to get to the level – I can hang in there for about 4k and then the last 1k is tough.
‘The reception was really quite amazing. I tried to tell myself it was just another race and I wasn’t really ready for the Hampden noise. It is just mad.
‘I feel I am in decent shape and I’ll do it all again in the 10,000m on Friday.’
Track & Field