Yared Hagos and Hana Abo scored an Ethiopian double in today’s Global Energy Inverness half marathon which attracted a record field of more than 2,000 runners.
The race offered one of the biggest prize funds on the Scottish road running scene and each of the winners picked up cheques for £1,000.
Hagos stamped his class on proceedings by taking an early lead in the blustery conditions before going on to win the men’s competition in 1hr 5min, which is the third fastest time in the 28 year history of the event.
His compatriot, Abo, who was competing outside of Ethiopia for the first time, knocked five minutes off her previous best time to win the women’s prize by completing the course in 1hr 15min 4sec.
Hagos, who is currently based in England, was delighted with the result. He said: “I am very pleased. The weather was cool but I thought the conditions were good. I got away from my rivals after about four miles and I was on my own after that.”
Glasgow-based former Eritrean athlete Mengisteab Teweldeberhan (Shettleston Harriers) tried to stay with Hagos but couldn’t live with the Ethiopian’s pace and had to settle for second position in 1hr 6min 59sec.
Title-holder Andrew Douglas (Inverclyde AC) overtook Ben Hukins (Aberdeen AAC) towards the end to take third position in 1hr 7min 10sec. He said: “It was hard work but I’m happy enough with that performance at this stage in the year.”
Kieran Docherty in 13th position, led Bellahouston Road Runners to the men’s team prize with support from Greig Glendinning (14th in 1hr 13min 23secs) and Russell Whittington (15th in 1hr 13min 34secs).
Abo’s victory in the women’s race was particularly impressive given that she arrived in Inverness less than 24 hours before the race, having travelled overnight on Friday from Ethiopia.
The 20 year-old thoroughly enjoyed the experience of scoring a victory on her first overseas journey. She said: “It’s good. I really enjoyed it. I ran my fastest time but I think I can go even quicker if I get the chance to compete in other races. I would certainly like to come back next year to defend my title.”
Melissa Whyte (Inverness Harriers), who has won the women’s race for the past two years, finished runner-up on this occasion. The veteran Scottish international said: “That was tough because I have missed a couple of weeks training with a calf injury.”
Whyte also led Inverness Harriers to the women’s team prize with backing from Sarah Liebnitz (sixth in 1hr 26min 14secs) and Lesley Clarkson (7th in 1hr 27min 41sec).
Jill Knowles (Scottish Prison Service) took third spot in 1hr 20min 50sec. She said: “I’m happy with that because it’s just five seconds outside my best time which is great given that it was windy.”
GLOBAL ENERGY INVERNESS HALF MARATHON – Men: 1 Y. Hagos (Ethiopia) 1hr 5min 00sec; 2 T. Mengisteab (Shettleston) 1:06:59; 3 A. Douglas (Inverclyde) 1:07:10; 4 B. Hukins (Aberdeen AAC) 1:07:21; 5 J. Newsom (Central) 1:07:50; 6 R. Simpson (Deeside) 1:07:57; 7 J. Symonds (Hunters Bog Trotters) 1:08:24; 8 T. Tewelde (Shettleston) 1:09:38; 9 R. Russell (Central) 1:10:42; 10 B. Clark (Corstorphine) 1:12:05.
Over-40: 1 G. Glendinning (Bellahouston RR) 1:13:23; 2 R. Whittington (Bellahouston RR) 1:13:34; 3 G. Beal (Edinburgh AC) 1;15;30. Over-50: 1 R. Taylor (Metro Aberdeen) 1:17:53; 2 D. McLaughlin (Greenock Glenpark) 1:22:28; 3 B. Van Tuijl 1:23:20.Over-60: 1 A. McDonald 1:22:46; 2 G. Smith 1:26:34; 3 B. Adams (Metro Aberdeen) 1:30:15
Teams: 1 Bellahouston Road Runners 3hr 39min 51sec (K. Docherty, G. Glendinning, R. Whittington); 2 Edinburgh AC 3:40:20; 3 Hunters Bog Trotters 3:49:48
Women: 1 H. Abo (Ethiopia) 1:15:04; 2 M. Whyte (Inverness, over-45) 1:19:11; 3 J. Knowles (Scottish Prison Service) 1:20:50; 4 S. Bird 1:22:59; 5 M. Crawford (Edinburgh University) 1:25:06; 6 S. Lienbitz (Inverness) 1:26:14; 7 L. Clarkson 1:27:41; 8 C. Black 1:27:41; 9 J. Telford (Scottish Prison Service, over-40) 1:28:10; 10 P. Morris (Metro Aberdeen) 1:29:03.
Over-40: 1 M. Whyte (Inverness) 1:19:11; 2 J. Telford (Scottish Prison Service) 1:28:10; 3 E. Jenkins (Moray) 1:30:55. Over-50: 1 S. McEneaney 1:40:08; 2 M. Nicolson 1:41:51; 3 M. Murray 1:43:06. Over-60: 1 L. Gray (Inverness) 1:57;10; 2 A. Docherty (Forres) 2:00;12; 3 A. Davies 2:05:19.
Teams: 1 Inverness Harriers 4:13:05 (M. Whyte, S. Liebnitz, L. Clarkson); 2 Moray Road Runners 4:46:48; 3 Portobello Running Club 4:47:20