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Kirkhill athlete is tipped favourite to win Inverness Half Marathon and Scottish title

By Will Clark

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Mhairi Maclennan crossing the line. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Mhairi Maclennan crossing the line. Picture: James Mackenzie.

INVERNESS Harriers athlete Mhairi Maclennan is being tipped as the favourite to lift the Scottish women’s title at the Inverness Half Marathon.

The Kirkhill runner has confirmed she will be competing in the race, which takes place on Sunday.

Defending champion Natasha Phillips from Dundee Hawkhill Harriers, who broke the Inverness Half Marathon record last year in a time of 1:11:56, will not be competing this year.

Maclennan is capable of breaking the women’s record, as she sits ninth on the Scottish all-time best performer’s list with 1:11:18 which she set in Copenhagen in September.

Maclennan, who has not raced seriously since competing in Denmark last year, has overcome recent health concerns and is keen to test herself in Inverness.

She said: “In the autumn I was really ill with respiratory problems and I had to take medication to detox my body from mould spores which came from the flat I was living in. Fingers crossed that’s sorted the problem as I’ve been struggling with it for the past five years.

“I started training again in December and everything has gone well since then.

“I had a little run out in the London Winter 10k a couple of weeks ago and that went very well. I started off at half marathon pace and built up from there. In the end I was only about 20 seconds outside my personal best but I felt very relaxed and chilled.

“It would be nice to run a bit faster at Inverness than I did in Copenhagen, although I really don’t know what the course is like and it depends on weather conditions on the day.”

Metro Aberdeen’s Ginie Barrand, who set a personal best time of 1:14:00 when taking the bronze medal behind Phillips and Fionnuala Ross (Shettleston Harriers) in last year’s race, is expected to be one of Maclennan’s closest challengers this weekend.

The Banchory-based runner hasn’t raced since setting a personal best 2:35:25 in December’s Valencia Marathon, although she showed sharp form when clocking a parkrun 5k personal best of 16:29 at Aberdeen last month.

She said: “Training has gone as well as it could have done over the past few weeks and if the weather is favourable on Sunday I’d like to think I can go a little faster than last year. My training is geared for the Copenhagen Marathon in May but I’m not treating Inverness as a training run, I’m certainly going to be racing hard.

“It’s good that Mhairi is doing it and I’ll just try to keep her in sight.”

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