Kelly puts his best foot forward for Ballater win
Stonehaven runner beats a strong field in under an hour
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.