Kelly puts his best foot for­ward for Bal­later win

Stone­haven run­ner beats a strong field in un­der an hour

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - SPORT - BY FRASER CLYNE BY FRASER CLYNE

Ja­son Kelly says his vic­tory over a field of 215 run­ners in the 30th an­niver­sary Bal­later 10 race was the best per­for­mance he has pro­duced in his ath­let­ics ca­reer to date.

The 22-year-old Stone­haven Run­ning Club mem­ber posted a time of 56 min­utes to fin­ish 28 sec­onds ahead of Metro Aberdeen’s Tom Brian, whose club­mate Ben Ward was a fur­ther 31sec be­hind in third po­si­tion, while fourth-placed Tom Roche (In­sch Trail Run­ning Club) was the first over-40 in 57:18.

It is the third year in a row that Kelly has tack­led the Dee­side race and his progress over that pe­riod has been noth­ing short of re­mark­able.

In 2016 he fin­ished 56th in 1:13:16 but the fol­low­ing year he moved up to take third spot in 1:02:25.

He said: “I have made a huge im­prove­ment over the past cou­ple of years but I was sur­prised to run as fast as I did.

“I was maybe a cou­ple of min­utes faster than I ex­pected to be, so I am very happy with that.

“The con­di­tions were ideal and it was a good, com­pet­i­tive race from the start, all of which helps pro­duce de­cent re­sults.

“There were four of us to­gether for the open­ing two miles then Tom Brian and my­self pulled clear of the oth­ers.

“We were shoul­der to shoul­der all the way to the top of the hill at five miles but once we en­tered the off-road tech­ni­cal sec­tion of the course, I was able to open up a bit of a lead.

“When we got back on to the road for the fi­nal cou­ple of miles, I just pushed it on and man­aged to get the win.

“This has to be my best per­for­mance given how hard I had to work and be­cause I got the win over some good op­po­nents.”

Kevin Cor­mack (North High­land Har­ri­ers) was first over-50 in 1:01:51, while Ge­orge McPher­son (Metro Aberdeen) won the over-60s ti­tle in 1:08:06.

Scot­land in­ter­na­tional Fiona Brian claimed the top women’s prize de­spite never hav­ing to shift into top gear.

The Metro Aberdeen ath­lete ne­go­ti­ated the course in 59:44, a time bet­tered by only five men.

It is the sec­ond quick­est women’s time in the his­tory of the race, bet­tered only by the 57:04 recorded by Houghton’s Great Bri­tain in­ter­na­tional Lynn Hard­ing at the in­au­gu­ral race held over a dif­fer­ent route in 1989.

Brian said: “It was a good, solid train­ing run. The course is nice but it’s not a fast one, so I was just pleased to win and get un­der the hour.”

Brian’s Metro club­mate Ali Matthews was run­nerup in 1:08:32, while Ann Gal­lon (Stone­haven Run­ning Club) fin­ished third, as the first over-40, in 1:09:56.

Aude Chaiban won the over-50 prize in 1:18:20 with Maria Dale (Perth Road Run­ners) tak­ing the over-60s award in 1:29:36. De­nis Prikulis (Ve­gan Run­ners) shaved five sec­onds off the men’s course record when win­ning the Fort Wil­liam multi-ter­rain marathon for the sec­ond year in a row.

The Lochaber ath­lete recorded 2hr 43min 49sec, which was close to six min­utes quicker than his 2017 win­ning time, and was just in­side Olle Dahlberg’s 2016 record.

Lewis Priest was run­ner-up in 3:01:10, while El­liot Gow­land (VP Glas­gow) took third spot over­all and first in the over-40 age group in 3:08:30.

Mo­ray’s Wil­liam Stu­art was third over-40 in 3:09:35, while Robert Ma­clean won the over-50s prize in 3:31:39 and Tim Kirk (In­ver­ness Har­ri­ers) col­lected over-70s gold in 3:41:47

Kil­barchan’s Jen­nifer Rooney won the top women’s prize when fin­ish­ing sev­enth over­all from a field of 376 in a course record 3:16:09, beat­ing the pre­vi­ous best of 3:18:50 by Theresa Ma­jeed in 2015.

Tra­cie True­man was first over-50 when fin­ish­ing sec­ond over­all in the women’s di­vi­sion with a time of 3:20:25, while Janet Dick­son was third, the first over-40, in 3:22:48.

Anna Szafran­ska took the over-40s sil­ver in 3:36:15, while Clare Rus­sell (Metro Aberdeen) picked up bronze in 3:45:34.

Mary Davies was the lead­ing over-60 in 5:16:51 fol­lowed by Sylvia Main (In­ver­ness Har­ri­ers) in 5:48.

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