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North athletes set to take part in road race at Forres

By Will Clark

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Road racing returns to the north for the first time in six months on Sunday.

Megan Keith is favourite to win women's title.
Megan Keith is favourite to win women's title.

The Back To Basics 10K at Forres has attracted a high quality field including a number of international athletes.

Most of the international talent lies in the women’s contest with four full Scotland representatives among the entrants.

Inverness Harriers’ Megan Keith who made her Scotland senior debut at 3000 metres on the track last month at Loughborough is heavy favourite to win.

Her fellow Inverness Harrier Jenny Bannerman, the current Scottish 10K silver medallist, has a number of international appearances on the road at distances between 10K and half marathon. And two athletes who are hill internationalists make a change of surface and gradient when Kirstie Rogan of Moray and Caroline Marwick of Highland Hill Runners tackle the flat 6.2 mile single loop course.

Top seeded among the men are three athletes from the North East.

Will MacKay and Ben Ward both run for Metro Aberdeen while Max Abernethy competes for Fraserburgh.

The top ranked runners from the Highlands are Cameron Young of Inverness and Finlay Todd of Ross County.

Inverness athletes Angus Smith and Lucas Cairns are highly rated among the junior entrants.

Race organiser Paul Rogan said a hugely successful pilot event was held over the same route in December with all Covid protocols in place, but the road towards holding this second race has been rocky in the extreme thanks to the second wave of the pandemic.

“This has been a long time coming,” he said.

“We had a great first race in December before things closed down again and we thought we would be OK to have the next one a month ago.

“However restrictions hadn’t lifted far enough by then so we had to cancel, and then we also had to survive the scare of Moray being held in Level 3 for that extra time before we could give this weekend’s event the go ahead.

“But this time it’s for real and we are just so pleased at being able to get racing going again in the North.”

The event, where spectators are not yet permitted, will be run in two Covid compliant waves, the first setting off at 10am and the second ten minutes later.

The next race in the series is due to take place on Sunday July 4.

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