Ghebresilasie and Ross secure a Shettleston double at Inverness
Weynay Ghebresilasie was a clear winner of today’s Inverness half marathon and although the Glasgow-based Eritrean wasn’t happy with his time,he has vowed to return to challenge the course record.
The Shettleston Harriers’ club member was on his own from just before the half way point and despite slowing over the final two or three miles when weather conditions deteriorated, he finished strongly to complete the course in 1hr 6min 48secs.
The fastest time recorded in the 33 year history of the Inverness race is Peter Fleming’s 1:04:32 from 1993, but Ghebresilasie is convinced that long-standing mark can be broken.
He said: “I am happy to win but at the same time I am not happy because I wanted to be much faster. The weather was really good to begin with but after 10 miles we were running into a really strong wind and heavy rain and that slowed me down a lot.
“But, it is my first half marathon of the season and I have only been training for it for about four weeks so that’s not enough and I need longer. But, I feel I could have run 64mins if the weather was nice. I believe in future I could run 62 or 63mins here on this course if the conditions were good and I am prepared”
Mark Mitchell (Forres Harriers) had to settle for finishing runner-up for the second year in a row when completing the course in 1:08:11. The former Scottish 800m and 1500m track champion had been hoping for a much faster time but admitted to struggling after the opening 10km.
He said: “I was with Weynay for the first few miles and he kept encouraging me to stay with him but I just couldn’t go with the pace. I haven’t been feeling so good over the past two weeks which is disappointing as until then my training had gone really well.
“Today I wasn’t in the shape I wanted to be in and it was a case of just getting it done. I had the motivation to keep going because my family and friends had turned out to watch so I just battled through it.”
Kenny Wilson (Moray Road Runners) finished third in 1:08:37 to make up in some way for the disappointment of seeing his Glasgow half marathon time from last autumn being declared void after the national championship course was found to be short.
He said: “It’s an official personal best time for me after what happened at Glasgow, so I am pleased as I reckon this is a trickier course. Weynay and Mark went off very fast because I timed myself at five mins for the opening mile and they were already away.
“I tried to keep them in my sights and there were some points I thought I was gaining and I maybe closed in a little on Mark. I managed to keep running strongly for the final four miles but it was tough into the wind.”
Gordon Lennox, who was sixth in 1:12:24, received the Graeme Moffat Memorial Quaich as the first member of Inverness Harriers to complete the race. He also led his club to the team prize with backing from Michael O’Donnell, seventh in 1:12:47, and Graham Bee, 10th in 1:13:58.
Wayne Dashper (Forres Harriers) won the over-40’s prize when finishing 13th overall in 1:15:30 while his clubmate Stan Mackenzie was first over-50 in 1:18:16 and Terry Coyle was first over-60 in 1:24:16.
Northern Ireland international Fionnuala Ross made it a Shettleston Harriers double when winning the women’s prize by completing the course in 1:17:56.
The Glasgow runner, who is to represent her country in the Home Countries cross country international in Wales later this month, took an early lead and never looked to be in any danger of losing.
She said:”It wasn’t as quick as I wanted and the race was tougher than I expected because the weather turned a bit nasty, but I still enjoyed it. I pulled away after a couple of miles on an undulating part of the course and from there on I didn’t look back.It was tough running into the wind and rain and I think because of that my time was at least a minute slower than I was hoping to do.”
Ross also led her club to the women’s team prize with support from Thurso runner Emma Dunnet who was sixth in 1:23:42 and Carole Setchell, 17th in 1:31:04
Jenn Wetton’s wait for victory will be delayed for at least another 12 months as the Central AC member, who was third in 2014, finished runner-up for the third year in a row.
She said: “I ran with Fionnuala for about three miles when she got away on a hill and just pulled further and further ahead. There wasn’t anything I could do about it.
It was a lot windier than I anticipated when warming up and the final couple of miles was really tough. I am disappointed with my time as I was hoping for about a minute faster. So, I am runner–up yet again, but it’s always a good competitive race so I can’t complain.”
Metro Aberdeen’s Ginie Barrand seemed less affected than most by the weather conditions in the latter stages as she sped to a personal best time of 1:20:08 to finish third.
She said: “I’ve improved my best time by four mins so I am really pleased. It’s such a good course and I enjoyed it. I felt really good and just decided to go for it. I was in third for most of the way but I could see Jenn not all that far ahead of me.”
Marie Baxter (Garioch Road Runners) won the over-40 age group title for the fourth year in a row when clocking 1:29:23 for 11th position. While Christine Kibble won the over-50’s in 1:34:10 and Erica Christie (Cambuslang Harriers) took the over-60’s in 1:32:12
Montrose runner Alasdair Campbell won the accompanying 5km fun run in 17min 28secs with Tony Golabek, from Alness, finishing second in 17:39 and Ben Johnstone (Inverness Harriers) taking third in 17:56. Emily Andrew was first girl to finish while her Inverness Harriers clubmate Rebecca Johhstone finished second.