Medals on offer at Scottish Half Marathon Championships in Inverness

Friday 10th March 2023

Action from the Inverness Half Marathon last year with some of those in leading group back racing this weekend (photo via Inverness Half)

By Fraser Clyne

Inverness Half Marathon website

Hamish Hickey may be the rookie in the pack – but none of the other elite runners taking part in the Scottish Half Marathon Champs in Inverness is likely to underestimate the Central AC athlete.

The Inverness Half Marathon, now in its 38th year, hosts the Scottish championships for the first time and with North District medals up for grabs as well has attracted a top-class field.

Hickey has enjoyed success over much shorter distances in recent years, most recently landing bronze at the Lindsays National XC, but this will be his first serious attempt at a half marathon.

‘I actually took part in the Inverness race when I was 17, but that can’t really be counted,’ said the 22-year-old from Strathpepper.

‘I ran 78 minute so hopefully on Sunday I’ll be able to improve on that by a fair amount.

‘It will be good to try something different. All the other guys are experienced at this distance and I’m not, so it will be very interesting.

‘My plan is to go out at whatever pace they set. So, if it’s 64 minutes  pace, I’ll go with that, or if it’s slower I’ll stick to whatever they do.

‘Once we get beyond 10k I’ll be into new territory, and although I haven’t done any specific half marathon training, I’ve done long runs over the winter and have strength from cross country. Hopefully I can challenge at the front.’

Action from the start of the race last year (photo via Inverness Half)

Hickey’s rivals include Elgin-based Lachlan Oates (Shettleston Harriers), who made an impressive half marathon debut when winning the Fraserburgh race last November, recording 66:22 in far from ideal conditions.

Fraser Stewart (Cambuslang Harriers), who was third at Inverness last year in 66:40, and James Donald (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers), who has a best time of 65:27 from the 2020 Antrim Coast half marathon, are others expected to be battling for the coveted national medals.

Another possible contender for honours is Rob Sinclair (Highland Hill Runners), who is better known on the ultra distance trail running scene. Moray’s Kenny Wilson should also be among the front runners.

There’s also the intriguing prospect of seeing how Aberdeen AAC’s Michael Ferguson and Myles Edwards fare when making their half marathon debuts. Both are former Scottish 1500m track champions, but neither has raced beyond 10k so far in their careers.

Central AC’s Calum Philip and Luca Fanottoli, Fife AC’s Lewis Rodgers, Metro Aberdeen’s Will Mackay and Inverclyde’s John Bell are also hoping to make their mark.


Fionnuala Ross wins the Inverness Half Marathon title back in 2017 (photo via Inverness Half)

Three-time Scottish women’s half marathon champion Fionnuala Ross hopes to defend her national title in Sunday’s Inverness half marathon.

The Ireland international, who is based in Glasgow and represents Shettleston Harriers, is also a previous winner of the Inverness race, having taken top spot in 2017 when recording 77:56.

But her impressive personal best of 73:25, set at last October’s Great Scottish Run, is just four seconds short of the Inverness course record set by Kenya’s Cathy Mutwa in 2007.

‘I feel as though I’m in similar shape to when I ran in Glasgow last autumn so, hopefully, I can be around my PB time, but we’ll see how it goes,’ said Fionnuala.

‘The Scottish championships have been in Glasgow in recent years, which was handy for me. I’m training for the Manchester marathon in April, so the Inverness race comes at an ideal time in the build-up towards that. It gives me the chance to see how everything is going.’

Ross’s main challenge is expected to come from Metro Aberdeen’s Ginie Barrand who set a PB of 76:30 when making her Scotland debut in the Antrim Coast half marathon last August.

The French-born athlete, who is based in Banchory, has made one previous appearance in the Inverness half marathon, recording 1:20:05 to place third in the 2017 race won by Ross.

Annabel Simpson, who came within 19 seconds of the women’s course record when winning at Inverness last year, is unable to compete on this occasion.

Others expected to challenge for the podium positions include Barrand’s Metro club-mates Claire Bruce who set a PB of 77:35 at Edinburgh last year and Nicola MacDonald who clocked 79:52 a couple of years ago.

Yvonne McNairn (Giffnock North) who set a PB 79:47 for second position in the 2022 Scottish championships, can’t be discounted nor can Rebecca Burns (Pitreavie AC), who ran her PB of 77:28 at Edinburgh last year, nor three-time Loch Ness Marathon champion Megan Crawford (Fife AC).

Look out, too, for Scottish U20 National XC silver medallist Natasha Phillips (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) who is making her half marathon debut.




Tags: Fionnuala Ross, Hamish Hickey, Inverness Half Marathon, Scottish Half Marathon Champs

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