Mhairi and John land Scottish Half Marathon golds in Inverness

Monday 11th March 2024

Inverness Results

Report from Fraser Clyne

Mhairi Maclennan claimed her first Scottish road running title with a record-breaking performance  at the Inverness half marathon.

The Edinburgh-based Inverness Harriers athlete set the fastest women’s time in the 39 year history of the race through the streets of the Highland capital when clocking 71:47 – an improvement of nine second on the mark set by Natasha Phillips (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) 12 months earlier.

The race doubled up as the national championship event and Maclennan picked up a second gold when lifting the Scottish North District title.

Three-time National XC champion, Mhairi was delighted with her first gold medal on the roads, produced a commanding performance which demonstrated that her preparations for a marathon debut at London next month are well on track.

‘I’m pleased to get the record, as that was the aim,’ she said.

‘But I don’t know how it happened as I thought the course was so hard. It was hilly and windy and I didn’t taper for it because I’m preparing for London, so all in all it was a good result.

‘It was great to win on my home patch. I thought I was going to crash towards the end but the crowds kept me going.

‘I’m not going to put any pressure on myself at London, although I’d like to get as close as possible to the Olympic qualifying time, but I’d be happy with anything under 2 hours 30 minutrs.’

Ginie Barrand set an impressive personal best of 72:38 to take second position. She also led Metro Aberdeen to the women’s team title with backing from Claire Bruce, who also set a PB of 75:58 when finishing third, and Kirsty Mitchell (90:59).

Barrand said: ‘Mhairi was always well ahead, but I’m very happy with my run. My previous best was 74:01 here last year, so this is a big improvement. Now I’m looking forward to trying to improve my best marathon time when I compete at Copenhagen in May.’

Amy Hudson (Moray Road Runners, 83:19) was North District silver medallist behind Maclennan while Muriel Macleod (Stornoway) was third in 83:41.


John Bell admitted he exceeded his own expectations when holding off a strong field to win the Scottish men’s title.

The Inverclyde AC runner surged away from his rivals over the final mile to secure top spot in a personal best of 65:34.

The 2022 race winner, Sean Chalmers, took silver in 65:44 with his Aberdeen AAC clubmate Michael Ferguson, the former national 1500m track champion, securing bronze in 65:58. Title-holder Fraser Stewart (Cambuslang Harriers) had to settle for fourth spot 66:27.

Aberdeen AAC lifted the team title when their third scorer, Myles Edwards, finished ninth in a PB 68:45. Fife AC won the Women’s team golds from Metro Aberdeen with Edinburgh AC taking the bronze medals.

‘I came here hoping for a medal of some sort and got gold, so I’m delighted with that,’ said John.

‘Also, I’ve taken about a minute off my previous best time, so that’s pleasing  too. The plan was to sit in with the group early on and try to make a move over the final few miles.

‘There were still three of us together going into the final mile and I only got away from Sean with about 900m to go. I didn’t want to wait until we got back on the track because I know he’s fast. As it was, I was treading water over the final 100m.

‘I’m now focussing on the Scottish 10-Mile Champs at the end of the month. I also want to get my 10k time down to 29 minutes then look at a marathon later in the year.’

Chalmers wasn’t too disheartened by finishing second. He said: ‘It’s a bit of a confidence-booster to be honest, after a bad performance at the national cross country championships last month, when I had stomach problems.

‘I’ll be racing against John again at the Tom Scott race, so that should be good.

‘It’s also a huge bonus to have won the team title as that was something we had our eye on.We have a really good squad at the club now and looking further ahead, myself, Michael and Myles are all planning to do the Amsterdam marathon in October.’

James Wilson (Moray Road Runners) won the Scottish North District title when finishing 10th in 68:58 with silver going to Shaun Cumming (East Sutherland AC) in 69:19 and bronze going to Donnie Macdonald (710:16) who also collected the Graeme Moffat Memorial Quaich as the first Inverness Harriers club member to finish.

Former World Indoor and European 800m champion Tom McKean took time out to act as the official race starter, and after setting the runners on their way, he joined in and went on to complete the course in 1:48.47.

Lachlan Thomas successfully defended his title in the accompanying 5k when finishing ahead of his twin brother Kaeden for the second year in a row.

The 15 year-old Invergordon Academy pupil, who represents Ross County AC, recorded 15: 40, which is the fastest time in the event for more than 10 years.

Katie Meek (Inverness Harriers) set her best 5k time of 18:19 to take top spot in the women’s division of the run.

The 17 year-old Inverness Royal Academy pupil was delighted with the result and is now focussing her attention on the hill running scene this summer.




Tags: Aberdeen AAC, Inverness Half Marathon, John Bell, Mhairi Maclennan, Scottish Half Marathon Champs

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