Jason Kelly hopes his run in the Bennachie 50k ultra trail will set him up for another top level outing in next month’s Speyside Way race.
The Metro Aberdeen club member finished runner-up behind Deeside’s Great Britain international Robbie Simpson.
Simpson destroyed the course record of 4:22:31 set by Metro Aberdeen’s Kyle Greig in the inaugural event last year.
The Banchory athlete clocked 3:45:56, but Kelly was also well inside the old standard when clocking 4:01:52.
Aberdeen runners Allan Christie, 4:12:51, and Jonathan Gamble, 4:12:53, were others to dip inside the previous mark.
Kelly, who also finished second behind Simpson in last month’s Lairig Ghru race, was satisfied with his day’s work.
He said: “I’m doing the Speyside Way 60k race next month which is my main goal for the year, so I had one eye on that. Robbie was out of sight after two miles, so I just concentrated on my own run.
“I wanted to come out of this race feeling that I’d run well, but without being totally broken and I feel I’ve done that. My other target was to get inside last year’s course record and I’ve done that by quite a big margin.”
Kelly made his mark on the ultra scene this year when he won the Dee 33-mile race.
He hoped to build on that by challenging for Scotland selection in a 100k race later in the year.
The pandemic put paid to all competition until recently, but none of that has deflected Kelly from maintaining his form.
He said: “I’ve trained very well over the past six months and I think I performed well at Lairig Ghru and Bennachie.
“I think I’m in better shape than I was at the Dee 33. I’ve not done the speedwork I was doing at the beginning of the year, but I’ve done a lot of volume.
“I was running more than 100 miles a week for a while, but I’ve come down to an average of about 80 since August.
“Now I’m looking forward to the Speyside Way race, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will go ahead.
“The Speyside Way course is longer and flatter than Bennachie, so I think that will suit me better. I’m still relatively new to ultra racing, but I reckon I’m better on a flatter course, as the Dee 33 result proved.’’