Natasha sets Course Record and Fraser savours first Scottish title

Monday 13th March 2023

Scottish Half Marathon champions Fraser Stewart and Natasha Phillips celebrate in Inverness (photos via Inverness Half Marathon)


By Fraser Clyne

Natasha Phillips praised the support she has received from Eilish McColgan after speeding to a sensational Course Record-breaking performance in Inverness to win the Scottish Half Marathon title.

The 18 year-old Dundee Hawkhill Harriers athlete, who only took up running a couple of years ago, sprinted home in 71:53 to smash the previous women’s mark of 73:21 set by Kenya’s Cathy Mutwa in 2007.

It’s the 12th fastest time ever recorded by a Scottish woman and it earned her a first national title.

‘I knew what the Course Record was, but I honestly never thought I’d get it,’ said Natasha.

‘But there was such an amazing atmosphere out there with pipers and great support on the route, so I really enjoyed it. And the course is really good.

‘I went out really fast as I felt great, but when I was looking at the splits on my watch I was thinking it might be too quick.

‘I was leading for the first few kilometres but then fell back into second position. It wasn’t until the final 5k that I was in front again but I could feel my legs beginning to go when we got onto the track.’

There’s no doubt this was a sensational performance form an athlete who only celebrated her 18th birthday last month, but Phillips is taking it all in her stride.

‘I used to be a competitive swimmer and I did triathlons but I only took up running during lockdown, ‘ she revealed.

‘I couldn’t have done any of this without the help I’ve had from Eilish (McColgan). She has supported me through providing a scholarship training grant which allows me to travel to races all over the country, including this one .’

On a day which produced many fast times, runner-up Fionnuala Ross (Shettleston Harriers) was also inside the previous record when clocking a personal best 72:17.

Ginie Barrand (Metro Aberdeen) set her fastest time of 74:03 to take the bronze medal and she led her club to the Scottish team title with backing from Clare Bruce (fifth, 79:34) and Nicola MacDonald (seventh, 80:23)

Sarah Attwood (Skye and Lochalsh) was first in the North District women’s championship and also struck gold in the Scottish W40 masters division with a time of 81:01.

As Atwood took the North W40 title, the senior award went to the next finisher, Catriona Fraser (Inverness Harriers), who recorded 81:49.

Our Women’s medallists as Natasha is joined by Ginie Barrand (bronze, on left) and Fionnuala Ross


Fraser Stewart posted the fastest time of his career when overcoming a top quality field to win the Scottish men’s national title.

The 35-year-old Cambuslang Harriers club member, who finished third in the Highland capital 12 months earlier, was determined to take top spot on this occasion and he did so in style, clocking 65:24, an improvement of 29secs on his previous best set in Glasgow last year.

Fife AC’s Lewis Rodgers took silver in 65:38 while Strathpeffer’s Hamish Hickey led Central AC to the team title when finishing third in 65:46.

‘I’ve won team medals with Cambuslang before, but this is the first time I’ve won an individual gold,’ said Fraser.

‘And I’ve got a personal best time, so I’m delighted.

‘It was a great race and I had a real battle with Hamish for most of the way. Lachlan Oates went off hard at the start and I think only myself and Hamish who went with him.

‘We dropped Lachlan after about four miles and from there until the nine mile mark it was to-and-fro between the pair of us. At that point I decided to go for it and I was able to grind it out.

‘This is a great race as it is perfectly times coming before the Spring marathons. And the course is ideal, with ups and downs, so you need speed and strength.


Our Men’s medallists as Fraser is joined in Lewis Rodgers (silver, on left) and Hamish Hickey

‘I never thought I’d win a national title. I only started running when I was 30 and I’m happy for my coach John Montgomery who is here today. I can’t wait to see him as he’ll be so proud.

‘Now I’m aiming for a fast time at the London marathon. So far my preparations have gone well and I’ve a couple of weeks warm weather training in Portugal before that.’

Kenny Wilson (Moray Road Runners) won the North District title when finishing sixth overall in 67:29. Rob Sinclair (Highland Hill Runners) was second in 68:22 and Ruairidh Gollan (East Sutherland) third in 68:34. Leon Johnston (Edinburgh AC) won Scottish M40 gold in 71:58.


Tags: Fraser Stewart, Inverness Half Marathon, Natasha Phillips, Scottish Half Marathon Champs

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