Shock as Inverness teenager wins River Ness 10k on debut
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MEGAN Keith pulled off a shock result at the River Ness 10k when she won the title in her first ever race over the distance.
The 17-year-old Inverness Harrier claimed victory in 34:41 beating defending champion Jenny Bannerman by 29 seconds.
Ginnie Barrard of Metro Aberdeen was 63 seconds behind Keith whose victory was arguably the highlight of the Festival of Running on Sunday.
Keith, who won gold at the Junior European Orienteering Championship was confident she could be among the frontrunners during the early stages.
But she said she was pleased that she was able to maintain her lead in the final stages of the 10k course.
“It was a lovely course, I think it helped that I knew every part of it as I have ran along it so often,” she said.
“I felt great for around the first eight kilometres but I had never ran a race further than six kilometres before.
“So I started to feel it in the last two kilometres and if there wasn’t so many people cheering along the sides then I don’t think that I would have made it.”
Keith was behind three-time champion Bannerman until the halfway stage of the course when the teenager was able to push out in front and maintain her lead until she crossed the line to claim the win.
“My aim was to hang on to Jenny for as long as possible because I did not know about the pacing,” she said.
“I set off in front of Jenny at the start. But I was behind her until the Dores Tesco roundabout at the 5k mark.
“There I felt good and I managed to push on from there.”
Mainly involved in orienteering racing, Keith has been concentrating on building up her stamina.
She said orienteering racing is completely different to competing at 10k level and that it was a different experience for her but proved that she was up for the challenge.
“I train in an endurance group, so I have built up in an endurance base over the last two years.
“The fast part of orienteering is short three kilometre races and I had done nothing up to 10 kilometres before.”
With the orienteering season over for the summer, Keith is now preparing on the cross country season during the winter and hopes to take part in the National Relay Championships.
Completing the top-five of the women’s championship were Nicola Gauld of Metro Aberdeen who finished fourth in 37:27 and Rachel Armitage of Inverness Harriers who came in fifth in 37:33.