A strong domestic field is set to vie for the prizes at this month’s Scottish Half Marathon. Last year’s male winner Bryan Mackie (City of Edinburgh) will be looking to defend his title, however last year’s female winner Helen Bonsor (Carnethy) will not be taking part in this year’s event due to other commitments.
Mackie headed home the elite men in last year’s race, clocking 1:11:22. He has since improved his personal best to 1:10.17 in finishing fourth in the half marathon in May’s Edinburgh Marathon Festival. Gordon Lennox will lead the Highland challenge. The Inverness Harrier is a prolific 10k winner in his native North East.
From over the border Andrew Pearson will spearhead the contenders from south of the border. Representing New Marske Harriers of North Yorkshire, the veteran is a contender from any distance from 5k upwards and with a new PB of 1:14:18 established earlier this year, he cannot be ruled out.
Defending champion Mackie has also identified a close rival from within his own training camp, he picks Stuart Johnston from the Garry Robertson-coached group in Saughton in the West of the city as one to watch. He suggests he will have to be at his twinkle-toed best to beat Johnson, who set a new PB of 1:12:15 earlier this year.
Mackie said: “The Scottish Half marathon comes at a busy time for me with four races in six weeks and training has been adjusted to take this into account. I expect tough competition from my training partner Disco Stu (Stuart Johnston). ‘Disco’ was third last year but has since kicked on and pushed me very close over races at 5000m and 10k not to mention a few spankings he’s handed out to me at training.
“The route will suit fast runners and those seeking a PB. Hopefully any wind will be behind us for the second half of the race. I’ve always loved the East Lothian coast but I’ll save any sight-seeing for another day.”
Last year’s women’s champion Bonsor has represented Great Britain at the World Mountain Running Championships, but she proved to be equally adept on the flat, fast Scottish Half Marathon course last year, cruising to victory in 1:26:13. Leading the challenge for Bonsor’s title is local runner Catriona Probert of City of Edinburgh, a sub three-hour marathon runner who has all the credentials to stay the 13.1mile trip.
Abi Beautyman, Elite Coordinator said “It’s great to see that the Scottish Half Marathon attracts some of the best club runners around. It looks to be an exciting and competitive race with key athletes in the field improving on their times since last year. Who knows, hopefully we might see a course record!”