Douglas In Great Form Going Into the Stena Drilling Tartan 10Km - 9 April 2010
Caithness athlete Andrew Douglas looks like the man to beat when 2,400 runners step onto the starting line for Saturday's Stena Drilling Tartan 10Km at Balmoral Castle.
Douglas completed his preparations for the Deeside race by crushing a field of more than 3,000 participants in last Sunday's Sir Chris Hoy half marathon in Edinburgh.
Andrew led from the start and went on to post a personal best time of 1hr 7min 37sec, finishing more than six minutes ahead of his closest rival.
He said:"I was really pleased with the run. My race plan went perfectly. I'm all set now for Balmoral - and it's a good feeling to know that it's less than half the diatnce I ran in Edinburgh!" Douglas also has the fastest 10Km time of any of the Balmoral entrants, having clocked 30:55 in the River Ness 10Km two years ago.
This will be Andrew's first experience of Balmoral but defending champion Keith Hood (Corstorphine AAC) is a regular visitor. The Edinburgh runner is happy with his form after setting a personal best time in last month's Inverness half marathon, but Keith is playing down his chances of a repeat win.
He said:"My training has been going fairly well and I've had a couple of good races recently,including the Inverness half-marathon. "I'm looking forward to Balmoral as it's always a highlight of the year, however I'm not confident of a repeat of last year's result.I think I just got lucky on the day. I'll be giving it a good shot though."
Aberdeen AAC's Ben Hukins, runner-up last year, will be keen to go one better on this occasion while another Aberdeen-based runner, Barney Phillips, will be in contention after twice finishing third over the past three years.
Banchory's Great Britain junior hill running international Robbie Simpson is another who cannot be discounted as he has also been showing excellent form lately, while British orientering international Oleg Chepelin, from Aberdeen, will also be amongst the front runners.
Simpson is a past winner of the Balmoral secondary schools 2.5Km and he was fifth last year in the 10Km.
Aberdonian David Wright (Hunters Bog Trotters) should also be challenging for a podium position after winning the Gala 10Km earlier this month.
Alan Reid (Peterhead Road Runners) is among the top contenders for the special prize for the first kilted runner. The former Great Britain 100km runner has won this title twice before.
Edinburgh-based Aberdonian Lyn Wilson is bidding for a third win in five years in the women's race in what will be her first competitive outing since winning last May's City of Aberdeen 10km. The Balmoral women's course record-holder said:"It will be a shock to the system after not racing for so long. I had a heel spur problem and achilles problems which kept me out of racing but these are fine now."
Wilson's opposition includes 2007 winner Fiona Thompson (Central AC) and Scottish hill running champion Clare Whitehead (Cosmic Hillbashers).
Ohers who should feature strongly include Rhona Buchan (Aberdeen AAC), Chiin-Hooi Tan (Fleet Feet), Louise Provan (Hunters Bog Trotters) and Megan Wright (Hunters Bog trotters).
Youngsters to look out for include Siobhan Prise and Megan Albon.