Stra­chan is bound­ing to­wards a medal haul

Metro Aberdeen run­ner is hit­ting form at just right time

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

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.

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