Athletics: Ali has busy race schedule as she looks forward to Metro return and more marathons

Ali and Paul Matthews

Ali Matthews is looking forward to winning more honours in Metro Aberdeen colours when she returns to the north-east on a permanent basis next month.

She and husband Paul regularly turned out for the city club prior to work commitments taking them to Norway in 2010, then on to Teeside in 2015.

The couple are relocating back to Aberdeen and Ali is excited about rejoining what is already a very strong Metro women’s squad.

She demonstrated her good form by winning the women’s division of the Kinloss to Lossiemoth half marathon during a brief visit last weekend.

Matthews, who was representing her current club, Darlington Harriers, overhauled Garioch’s Marie Baxter in the closing stages to take the title with a personal best time of 1hr 24min 53secs.

She said: “We have been up in Aberdeen house-hunting and I decided to fit in a race while we were here.

“I only entered a few days before so it was very much a last-minute decision.

“I’m training for the Manchester marathon in April, so this fitted in quite well. But I really didn’t expect to win.

“Marie had led all the way and I didn’t overtake her until about the 10th or 11th mile.

“She had set off quite fast so I was pleased I managed to catch her. I knew she ran a fast time here a couple of years ago.”

Matthews has a busy racing schedule coming up.

She said: “I’m looking forward to representing Metro in the near future.

“We’re going to be living in Aberdeen for the next two years at least, so I’ll definitely be back with the club.”

Her preparations for Manchester continue tomorrow with another race in the Borders.

She said: “I’m doing the Glentress trail half marathon then we’ll be away on holiday for 10 days.

“When we get back I’ve got the East Hull 20-mile race followed by another 20-mile race in Darlington.

“I’m just trying to get the miles under my belt for the marathon. I’m currently running 60 to 70 miles a week and everything is going well.”

Matthews won last year’s Blackpool marathon in a personal best 3hr 7min but hopes to improve on that performance in Manchester.

She said: “I am hoping for under 3:05 but we’ll see. Manchester is meant to be a really good course so I’m looking forward to it. By then I might be back in Metro colours.”

Matthews will strengthen a Metro women’s squad which is shaping up as one of the strongest in the country.

Scotland international Fiona Brian led the club to the British and Scottish marathon team titles in London last year with backing from Jennifer Elvin and Hazel Wyness.

Another current Scotland international, Nicola Gauld, joined the Metro ranks towards the end of last year while Kayleigh Jarrett, Ginie Barrand and Claire Bruce have all shown good form at national level in recent months.

Even without Matthews in the squad, Metro still won the women’s team prize in the Kinloss to Lossiemouth race.

Wyness led the way by setting a personal best 1:27:31 for third position while Sarah Milne (ninth in 1:33:07) and Julie Thomson (11th in 1:35:04) were the other scorers.