Inverness athlete Lesley Clarkson is probably the only Great Britain 400m internationalist who can claim to have also won a marathon. The 29 year-old hospital pharmacist is currently based in Glasgow, but she frequently returns to her home town and will next month line up with 2,000 other competitors in the Global Energy Inverness 1/2 Marathon.
As a 400m runner Clarkson competed for Great Britain at under-20 and under-23 level and was called up for the senior UK team for the annual Kelvin hall indoor international in Glasgow a number of years ago.
She was also included in the Scotland 4x400m relay squad for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester although she wasn’t selected for the final quartet which, led by Lee McConell, finished fourth behind Australia, England and Nigeria.
Since giving up serious track racing six years ago Lesley has turned her attention to road running which she enjoys. She won the Isle of Man marathon in 2010, recording a time of 3hr 34min 30sec which was almost one minute quicker that her only other marathon performance, at Berlin a year earlier.
She said: “I decided to try road running just to keep fit after deciding not to do track anymore. The first half marathon I did was the Inverness race quite a few years ago, but I haven’t done it again since then. I’ve done quite a few half marathons now and I enjoy training for these events. I’m going to run the London marathon in April and Charlie Bannerman, who coached me for 400m, has given me a schedule to get ready for that. The Inverness 1/2 Marathon is part of my preparations for London.”
Clarkson, who was recently made an honorary life member of Inverness Harriers, showed she is in good form by setting a personal best time of 1hr 28min 31sec when finishing fifth in the Kinloss to Lossiemouth half marathon last weekend.
She said: “Yes, I was pleased with that. My aim for Inverness is to run under 1:30 and that remains the target despite having done it at Lossiemouth.”