Robbie Simpson followed up a record-busting win at last weekend's Cupar 5 with an impressive success at today's (9 March) Inverness Half Marathon. The Deeside Runner flew home in a PB time of 1:06:03 ahead of Central AC's John Newsom (1:07:13), Inverclyde AC's Andrew Douglas (1:08:25) and a bumper field of 1,800 participants.
Both Newsom and Douglas have Commonwealth Games aspirations which they will test in Manchester and London next month but it was Simpson who pocketed the £1,000 prize and top spot on the podium. Douglas and Newsom managed to stay with Simpson for the first half of the race, but the Aberdeenshire man's strength and pace eventually prevailed and he went on to secure a clearcut victory.
Post-race Simpson said: “We ran together until about the six or seven mile point, but not long after that I pushed on a bit and was able to open a little gap. I decided to just keep it going as hard as I could and never looked back."
Gordon Lennox (Forres Harriers) came fourth in 1:11:06 while fifth placed Graham Bee, 1:11:48, collected the Graeme Moffat Memorial Quaich awarded to the first Inverness Harrier to finish. Bee also led Inverness Harriers to the team prize with backing from Andrew Macrae (27th in 1:20:06) and Kenny Steele (41st in 1:22:58).
As predicted Nicola Duncan (pictured) dominated the women's event. Duncan, who has been running in heady company recently, was delighted with her performance; she now travels to represent Ireland in the world half marathon championships in Copenhagen in great heart.
She said: “I am very pleased as that is my second fastest half marathon time and the quickest I have done in the UK. My fastest was in Barcelona last month, but that was on a flat course and the weather was warmer than here. I found the wind quite tough on a few stretches today but it’s a great course, everything was very well organised and I really enjoyed it.”
Kilbarchan's Gemma Rankin took second position in 1:16:44 with Jennifer Emsley (Central AC) third in 1:16:59. Fifth placed Sarah Liebnitz produced a PB of 1:23:03 to lead Inverness Harriers to another team victory in the women’s competition. She was supported by Emily Tomlin (11th in 1:27:55) and Alison Wilson (18th in 1:30:41).
One runner, Thomas Carson, caught the mood of the day with his Facebook comment: "Flip me, there's some gazelles running there, looking at those times....well done to everyone."
Full results for Inverness Half Marathon and the Team Attack 5K will be posted soon on scottishrunningguide.com Race Listings page.