Strachan is bounding towards a medal haul
Metro Aberdeen runner is hitting form at just right time
Afew months ago Cameron Strachan would have laughed off any suggestions he might be in the mix for a Scottish championship medal.
But the Metro Aberdeen runner has made such rapid strides forward since the summer that he will go into tomorrow’s national 4km cross-country senior men’s race at Lanark with a real possibility of upsetting the odds.
It’s going to be tough but Strachan is showing the sort of form which suggests he won’t be far away when the top prizes are handed out.
A fortnight ago he set the sixth-fastest time of the day when winning the opening stage of the Scottish 4x4km cross-country relay championships at Cumbernauld.
And last weekend he finished ahead of two Scotland internationals when knocking 30 seconds off his previous best 10km road time by recording 30min 50sec in the Leeds Abbey Dash.
It shows how much progress the 27-year-old has made since deciding less than a year ago to give up amateur football in order to resurrect his athletics career after a 10-year absence.
Strachan was a promising middle-distance runner in his teens and is now beginning to make up for lost time.
He said: “I didn’t ever expect to be in this position at the beginning of the summer and I’m surprised at the progress I’ve made.
“A year ago I ran 33:53 in the Brodie Castle 10km. Then I decided I would concentrate on running but wanted to keep going with my football team until the end of the season. I thought it was only fair to do that.
“So it wasn’t until this May that I was able to focus totally on my running and I am now so much fitter because I’ve been able to get a good few months of regular training done.
“And it has paid off as my 10km time at Leeds last weekend was three minutes quicker than I managed at Brodie. I am still surprised by it, but I feel there’s more to come.”
Strachan is now looking forward to putting in a strong challenge for top honours at Lanark.
He added: “There’s no point in going unless you’re prepared to get into the mix
“There’s a lot of fast guys likely to be competing but I’m prepared to get involved and see if I can do anything. I still seem to have a bit of a kick at the finish of races so that might help me at the end.
“I’m still a bit of an unknown quality because I’ve not been back on the scene for very long, although I think some people are beginning to take notice.”
His rivals tomorrow include Scotland international Michael Ferguson (Aberdeen AAC), who was bronze-medallist in 2016, and Kenny Wilson (Moray Road Runners). Peterhead AC’s Shelly Duncan will defend the women’s title in the Blue Toon’s annual 10km road race on Sunday –which has attracted a capacity entry of 300 runners.
Twelve months ago the 21 year-old, who won the year’s Run Garioch 5km in March, battled against cold, wet and windy conditions to become the first woman from the host club to win the race in its 15-year history.
She recorded a personal best time of 39min 47sec to finish ahead of Julie Hoyle (JS Kintore) and Ann Gallon (Stonehaven Running Club), both of whom are also competing this weekend.
Duncan said: “I think I’m probably a bit fitter than I was this time last year.
“I ran a personal best 5km time of 18:45 on the track at our club championships, so I am a little faster but I can’t speculate on how I’ll do on Sunday.
“Hopefully the weather will be a bit better this time but I’ll do what I can do and we’ll see what that brings.”
The biggest threat to Duncan’s chances is expected to come from Tammy Wilson (JS Kintore) who is heading back towards peak form after a long absence because of injuries.
The Kintore athlete, who won the Peterhead race in 2013 when she clocked 37:35,took top spot in last month’s Aviemore 10km in 36:46.
Other contenders include Wilson’s clubmate Emma Watt and the Metro Aberdeen duo of Emma Sutherland and Julie Thomson.
Metro Aberdeen’s Ben Ward is favourite to land the men’s title after setting a personal best 10km time of 32:46 in last weekend’s Leeds Abbey Dash.
His rivals include Fraserburgh’s Max Abernethy and 2016 winner Keith Buchan.