RUN BALMORAL Exciting weekend of races coming up . . .Moray's Kenny Wilson, pictured, believes he could break his own course record in the ConocoPhillips 5km at Balmoral Castle on Saturday and still not win the race.
The Scotland international has dominated the event for the past three years, winning in fine style on each occasion and setting a course record time of 14min 42sec twelve months ago to clip four secs off the previous best set by future Olympian Andrew Butchart (Central AC) in 20013.
The field is arguably the best assembled for many years with Wilson facing a strong challenge from fellow Scotland internationals, Ali Hay (Central AC), Cameron Strachan (Metro Aberdeen) and Hamish Hickey (Ross County AC).
Joining them will be over 100 representatives of race sponsors ConocoPhillips.
Hay, who represented Scotland in the 1500m at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, won the Balmoral 5km in 2012 and 2014 but was beaten into second position by Butchart in 2013.
He has been in excellent form this winter and was shown when he recorded 14:23 at the Armagh 5km in February.
Strachan has emerged as a serious force on the Scottish distance running scene this winter and earned his first Scotland call-up for the home countries international in January.
Hickey, a student at Stirling University, also won his first Scotland vest at the same match and is shaping up as a talented competitor.
Wilson said:"It's going to be tough.I could break my own course record and not win the race.I'm sure one of us will get the record if conditions are decent.
"This is always one of the highlights of my year and I'm looking forward to the challenge again. There's not much between us so it should be an exciting battle."
The women's race also promises to be a classy affair with Scotland internationals Morag Millar (Central AC) and Jenny Bannerman (Inverness Harriers) expected to battle for top spot. Bannerman has won twice over the past three years, her only defeat coming in 2017 when Millar finished four secs ahead of the Highland athlete.
Both have shown fine form when setting personal best 10km times in recent weeks. Millar clocked an impressive 33:44 when winning the East of Scotland title at Grangemouth while Bannerman recorded 34:52 to win the Moray race at Miltonduff.
Whether either athlete can get close to the record 15:55 set by Banchory Stonehaven AC's Rhona Auckland in 2014 remains to be seen.
Others who will hope to be in the mix for a podium position include Constance Nankivell (East Sutherland) and the Inverness duo Gemma Cormack and Emily Andrew.
Cormack has a long association with the Balmoral event,having won the secondary schools girls' race in 2006 and the 5km in 2015. ...