Wallsend Harriers' Yared Hagos made amends for a below-par performance on his last visit to the Scottish Highlands - down the field at the Loch Ness marathon - with a stunning run in yesterday's Global Energy Inverness half marathon. The Ethiopian followed up a recent success over the same distance at Tunbridge Wells with a fast 1 hour 5 minute time to pocket a £1,000 first prize.
Hagos' compatriot Hana Abo also collected a £1,000 prize - first woman in 1:15:04. Competing outside of Ethiopia for the first time Abo knocked five minutes of her previous personal best to finish ahead of last year's winner Melissa Whyte (1:19:11). There was consolation for Whyte as she led Inverness Harriers to the team prize; Sarah Liebnits and Alison Wilson the other counters.
Conditions were blustery but good for the first big race of the year and the 2,000 participants enjoyed mild temperatures on a course which one runner described as "rolling, but with no real climbs".
Hagos dominated the men's race going clear after just 4 miles. 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 place in 1:6:59. Local favourite Andrew Douglas (1:07:10) was a close third.
There was a good tussle for the men's team prize with Bellahouston Road Runners (Kieran Docherty, Greig Glendinning and Russell Whittington) narrowly prevailing over Edinburgh AC.
Abo's victory in the women's event 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 enjoyed her first overseas competition: "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 to defend my title."