Kai Crawford has cracked a 37-year-old Aberdeen AAC middle distance running record and now has his sights set on an even older one.
The Albyn school student hit top form when winning a thrilling 800m race at a track meeting in Linwood organised by Glasgow Athletics Association and the British Milers Club.
Crawford stopped the clock at 1 min 53.93secs to pip Cambuslang’s Christopher McLew by the thickness of a vest after a titanic battle down the home straight.
The Aberdeen teenager’s time broke the club under-17 age group record of 1:54.80 set by Colin Donald in 1984 and it propelled him to second position in this year’s UK rankings behind Coventry athlete Jake Minshull, who has recorded 1:51.63.
Crawford, who hadn’t broken the two-minute barrier prior to this summer, was thrilled with the result, but feels there’s much more to come.
He said: “It was unexpected, but it was a good race. I set off hard for the first 200m, but then eased off a bit until 500m.
“The guy who eventually finished second then pulled away. Coming into the final 100m, he had a lead of about 10m, but I just managed to catch him.
“All my team-mates were at the side of the track cheering me on and we had a bit of a celebration.
“I didn’t know I’d broken the record until I got into the car to go home. But I think if I keep getting the training done, then by the end of season I might be able to get down to the 1.50 area. That’s where I’d like to be.”
Crawford has taken seven seconds off his best time this summer already and admits that cracking two mins had been a bit of a mental block until now.
He said: “I just couldn’t seem to break two mins, but I did it in my first race of this season and since then it has seemed so much easier.
“My training is more consistent now and that’s helping. If I don’t have a race, I do three quality sessions a week, plus recovery runs. I also do a longer run on a Sunday, anything from 10-15k.”
Crawford’s plans for the remainder of the summer include an appearance at the English championships in Manchester in August, followed by the Scottish championships.
He is also well placed for a slot in the UK Youth Games at Loughborough in September.
Entry is restricted to the top-eight ranked UK performers in each event and he currently sits in second position.
A few other British Milers Club meetings are also on the agenda.
While he has been excelling at 800m, Crawford is also keen to claim the Aberdeen under-17 1,500m record.
It currently stands to former Scotland international Ross Arbuckle, who clocked 4:01.1 in May 1978.
Crawford, whose best time is 4:06.38 said: “I’ve run a couple of 1,500s this year, but they weren’t my best.
“I feel I should be capable of being around the record and possibly getting down to about 3:55. That’s certainly another target.”
Arbuckle’s 3,000m record of 8:42.4, which also dates back 43 years, is another goal, although races over this distance are not held so frequently.
Crawford is entering his final school year and, looking to the longer term, is exploring academic and sporting opportunities in the USA.
He is interested in combining a sports scholarship while studying for a degree in biomedical engineering or aeronautics.
Crawford just one of the north-east athletes to put on sparkling showing
Kai Crawford topped the bill with his 1min 53.93secs 800m Aberdeen AAC club record-breaking victory at the Linwood track meeting.
But younger brother Rhys,14, also performed well to set a new personal best of 2:01.32 when competing in a separate heat.
Rhys has now slashed a little over seven secs from his previous fastest time since the start of the season and will now be aiming to emulate his brother by dipping under the two min barrier.
Aberdeen AAC runners won three more 800m heats, with Adam Brown (1:56.14), Alex Bates (1:58.45) and Dylan Dickie (2:04.80) all claiming impressive victories.
Hannah Cameron was second in her 800m race (2:07.87), being pipped in a tight finish by Jill Cherry (VP Glasgow), who won in 2:07.50.
Other Aberdeen runners dipping under two mins included Lewis Watt (1:57.67), Ben Nelson (1:58:05) and Eoghan Macnamara (1:59.89).
There was also a PB for Banchory Stonehaven AC youngster Millie Mclelland-Brooks, who clocked 2:22.46.
Aberdeen AAC twins Kirsty and Caitlin Purcell set respective PBs of 10:11.64 and 10:14.84 when picking up silver and bronze in the Scottish under-20 3,000m championships held at the same venue. Inverness athlete Megan Keith won in 9:19.05.
Aberdeen AAC’s Michael Ferguson achieved an outdoor PB of 8:16.77 when finishing third in the men’s 3,000m race, won by Falkirk’s Kane Elliott in 8:14.73. That’s the second-quickest time ever recorded by an Aberdeen club member.
Metro Aberdeen’s Ben Ward scored a lifetime best of 8:51.53, while Aberdeen AAC’s Aaron Odentz did likewise with 8:59.16