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Maclennan Sets Record Time at Inverness

March 10, 2024

Mhairi Maclennan (Inverness Harriers) claimed her first Scottish road running title with a record-breaking performance in today’s Inverness half marathon.

The Edinburgh-based Inverness athlete, set the fastest women’s time in the 39 year history of the race through the streets of the Highland capital when clocking 1hr 11min 47secs – an improvement of nine secs on the mark set by Natasha Phillips (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) twelve months earlier. Only 23 men in the field of 2245 were quicker.

The race doubled up as the national championship event and Maclennan picked up a second gold when lifting the Scottish North District title.

The three-time national cross country champion, who was delighted with her first gold medal on the roads, produced a commanding performance which demonstrated that her preparations for a marathon debut at London next month are well on track.

She said: “I’m pleased to get the record, as that was the aim. But I don’t know how it happened as I thought the course was so hard. It was hilly and windy and I didn’t taper for it because I’m preparing for London, so all in all it was a good result. It was great to win on my home patch. I thought I was going to crash towards the end but the crowds kept me going.

“I’m not going to put any pressure on myself at London, although I’d like to get as close as possible to the Olympic qualifying time, but I’d be happy with anything under 2hr 30min.”

Ginie Barrand set an impressive personal best of 1:12:38 to take second position. She also led Metro Aberdeen to the women’s team title with backing from Claire Bruce, who also set a PB of 1:15:58 when finishing third, and Kirsty Mitchell (1:30:59).

Barrand said: “Mhairi was always well ahead, but I’m very happy with my run. My previous best was 1:14:01 here last year, so this is a big improvement. Now I’m looking forward to trying to improve my best marathon time when I compete at Copenhagen in May.”

Amy Hudson (Moray Road Runners, 1:23:19) was North District silver medallist behind Maclennan while Muriel Macleod (Stornoway) was third in 1:23:41.


 John Bell admits he exceeded his own expectations when holding off a strong field to win the Scottish men’s title. The Inverclyde club member surged away from his rivals over the final mile to secure top spot in a personal best of 1:05:34 while the 2022 race winner, Sean Chalmers, took silver in 1:05:44 with his Aberdeen AAC clubmate Michael Ferguson, the former national 1500m track champion, securing bronze in 1:05:58. Title-holder Fraser Stewart (Cambuslang Harriers) had to settle for fourth spot 1:06:27.

Aberdeen AAC lifted the team title when their third scorer, Myles Edwards, finished ninth in a PB 1:08:45.

Bell said:“I came here hoping for a medal of some sort and got gold, so, obviously I’ll take it. Also, I’ve taken about a minute off my previous best time, so I’m delighted about that too. The plan was to sit in with the group early on and try to make a move over the final few miles. There were still three of us together going into the final mile and I only got away from Sean with about 900m to go. I didn’t want to wait until we got back on the track because I know he’s fast. As it was, I was treading water over the final 100m.

“I’m now focussing on the Tom Scott 10 mile race at the end of the month, which is another Scottish championship race. I also want to get my 10k time down to 29mins then look at a marathon later in the year.”

Chalmers wasn’t too disheartened by finishing second. He said: “It’s a bit of a confidence-booster to be honest, after a bad performance at the national cross country championships last month, when I had stomach problems. I’ll be racing against John again at the Tom Scott race, so that should be good.

“It’s also a huge bonus to have won the team title as that was something we had our eye on.We have a really good squad at the club now and looking further ahead, myself, Michael and Myles are all planning to do the Amsterdam marathon in October.”

James Wilson (Moray Road Runners) won the Scottish North District title when finishing 10th in 1:08:58 with silver going to Shaun Cumming (East Sutherland AC) in 1:09:19 and bronze going to Donnie Macdonald (1:10:16) who also collected the Graeme Moffat Memorial Quaich as the first Inverness Harriers club member to finish.

Former world indoor and European 800m champion Tom McKean took time out to act as the official race starter, and after setting the runners on their way, he joined in and went on to complete the course in 1:55:16.


Lachlan Thomas successfully defended his title in the accompanying 5k when finishing ahead of his twin brother Kaeden for the second year in a row. The 15 year-old Invergordon Academy pupil, who represents Ross County AC, recorded 15min 40secs, which is the fastest time in the event for more than 10 years. Kaden was runner-up in 16:52 while Matthew Brennan (Moray Road Runners) took third spot from the record field of 1300 in 17:04.

Thomas said: “I’m very happy with my performance although it’s a few seconds outside my best time set in the Scottish championships last year. I’m now planning to compete in the Scottish under-17 road running championships at Greenock next week and my aim is to make the Scotland team for the London mini marathon for the second year in a row in April.”

Katie Meek (Inverness Harriers) set her best 5k time of 18:19 to take top spot in the women’s division of the run. The 17 year-old Inverness Royal Academy pupil was delighted with the result and is now focussing her attention on the hill running scene this summer.

She said: “My main aim is to make the Scotland team for the under-18 world mountain running cup in Spain. I competed in that event last year and I’m keen to do it again.”

Jessica Needs (Aberdeen AAC) was second in 18:51 while Katie’s younger sister Anna was third in 19:20.

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