Edinburgh athlete Michael Crawley will take a break from writing up his doctorate thesis on the cultural aspects of Ethiopian distance running to join what promises to be a record number of competitors in the Inverness Half Marathon on 12 March. The Corstorphine club member last competed in the Inverness race two years ago when he finished runner-up, seven seconds behind Shettleston’s Tewolde Mengisteab who won in 1hr 6min 48secs.
Crawley said: “It was a good race the last time I was there. I was with Tewolde until very near the end when he sprinted away from me. I’d like to aim for a similar sort of time, or even faster, this year. My plan is to work my way back to fitness so I can be ready to run a decent marathon later in the year. I haven’t entered anything yet, but if all goes well I’m thinking about Edinburgh Marathon in May.
The University of Edinburgh postgraduate student has spent most of the past 15 months living in Addis Ababa, exploring the role sport plays in the lives of young African runners and how it offers the prospect of a brighter future for some.
He said: “I have been looking at the motivation behind their running, examining how it offers something hopeful in their lives as this is an area of very high youth unemployment. I’ve carried out lots of interviews and I’m currently transcribing these recordings. I have a year to write it all up and I’d eventually like to produce a book but I haven’t got a publisher yet.”
Crawley, who represented Great Britain in the world 50km championships in Doha two years ago, is now adjusting to life back in Scotland and is getting used to a totally different training regime. He said: “In Ethiopia I seemed to be over-training all the time. I was living and running at altitude, which is tough, but in addition to that it was difficult to find any runners who would run slowly enough. The slowest guys were all capable of about a 2hr 11min marathon so every run was pushing me to the limit.”
Entries for the 33rd hosting of the half marathon have broken through the 2,000 mark, which means there will likely be a record turnout. Registration is open until 21 February.
Full details at the Inverness Half Marathon website.