Aberdeen AAC’s Michael Ferguson is to compete in an elite 5k road race at the Fife Cycle Park near Lochgelly on Saturday.
And the Scottish 1500 metres track champion will be joined in the invitation-only field by Inverness Harriers club member Sean Chalmers, who now lives in Aberdeen.
The event provides Ferguson with a first racing opportunity since September when he set an Aberdeen record time of 4min 5.41sec in the Monument Mile at Stirling.
His only other semi-competitive experience in recent months took the form of a 3k time trial on the track at Aberdeen Sports Village when he recorded 8:27, a time he shared with new training partner Chalmers.
Ferguson said: “The 5k has been arranged at very short notice and to be honest I don’t know too much about it. It was only last Thursday that I was asked if I wanted to take part, but it’s good to get the chance.
“There are races for men and women, with only 30 athletes in each, and it’s to be on a five-lap course.
“I don’t know who else is going to be there apart from Sean and my Aberdeen clubmate Zoe Bates, who is competing in the women’s event.
“But it’s sure to be a good quality field as the invitations have gone mainly to those who ran fast times in the recent virtual 3k.
“I think the event is being put together not only to give us a rare chance to compete, but also to test the waters for similar events later this winter. So that’s all good.”
Ferguson believes he is in great shape, but admits to not being sure how well he might fare.
He said: “I haven’t raced since the Monument Mile, so it’s hard to tell how I’ll be. I feel that my general fitness is the best it’s ever been, but I’m lacking sharpness. That’s due to the lack of races.
“So, I am quite relaxed about Saturday. I’ll just sit in and see what happens. I’d be happy with anything under 14:30, maybe closer to 14:20.
“When I ran 8:27 for the virtual 3k, that equates to 14:10 for 5k and I certainly felt I could have l kept going at that pace for longer. But we’ll see what happens.”
Ferguson believes that having Chalmers to train with will help both of them improve in the months ahead.
The Highland athlete, who won the Scottish inter-district cross country title in January and has a good record on the road and on the track, has taken up a post as a PE teacher at Aberdeen’s St Machar Academy.
Ferguson said: “We are training together a couple of times a week and we both have the same coach, Mark Pollard. Myles Edwards is also training with us and it has been really beneficial.”
Ferguson is unsure as to what other events he might be able to tackle in the months ahead but is aiming to be ready for whatever challenges come along.
He said: “I was originally hoping to get some indoor races at the Emirates Arena, but with the situation the way it is in Glasgow at the moment, I can’t see that happening.
“So, I’ll grab any racing opportunities which come along. There’s the possibility of a cross country race next weekend, but I haven’t heard any details about that yet. I’d certainly like to get something like that done.”