Twelve months ago Kyle Greig was enthusiastically gearing up for a new role as race director of one of the north east’s biggest participation sporting events.
The Alford-based ultra-distance specialist was to be the driving force behind a revamped Baker Hughes Aberdeen Running Festival which aimed to build on the success of the city’s popular 10k which had been held every year since 1987.
But then the coronavirus struck and life as we know it changed instantly. Large races, along with so many other social gatherings, were cancelled.
Even now, a year on, despite the outlining of a roadmap towards normality, uncertainty remains as to when big events will return.
Greig said: “It was disappointing that the Baker Hughes festival never went ahead, but it couldn’t be helped.
“I doubt if it will happen this year as there haven’t been any discussions about it. Given all that’s been going on I guess everyone has had other issues to be concerned about.”
Greig’s desire to become involved in race management wasn’t dimmed despite the huge difficulties imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Indeed he was able to put on the Speyside Way 59k ultra run last November – one of the few races to go ahead in Scotland in the second half of 2020.
Greig said: “We were able to go ahead as events of up to 200 people were allowed at that time. We followed all the compliance rules and it seemed to go well.”
That experience inspired him to set up a series of ultra races to be held in the Moray area throughout 2021.
Unfortunately the first of these, the Dava Way run scheduled for April 17 on a 50k route between Grantown-on-Spey and Forres, has been postponed until later in the year.
Greig said: “I’ve decided to put it back to November 13. Covid restrictions might be lifted a bit by mid-April but it’s still not clear so it’s too much of a risk. It’s a shame as we had a capacity field of 100 including a few runners from England.
“But they have the choice of deferring until November or getting a refund.”
Greig is confident, however, that the other races in his series will be able to go ahead as planned.
The Moray Coastal trail 50 mile race from Forres to Cullen is on June 12. That’s followed by the Speyside Way ultras – offering the option of a 100k between Aviemore and Buckie or a 59k from Ballindalloch to Buckie – are on August 28.
The longest race in the series, a 100-miler which takes in the Moray Coastal Trail, the Speyside Way and the Dava Way, is on October 2.
Greig added: “Hopefully by June we’ll be able to proceed even if we have to put some safety measures in place. Everything should be fine so long as Scottishathletics is happy with our risk assessment and issues a licence.
“I don’t have any plans to organise any other races for now. I think that will be enough.”