Scotland international Fiona Brian and her Metro Aberdeen clubmates Ginie Barrand and Claire Bruce still don’t know where, when or if they’ll be able to run a marathon this year.
Brian and Barrand were due to compete in April’s London marathon while Bruce was targetting Manchester until the coronavirus lockdown led to the postponement of both races until later in the year.October.
Further concerns over the spread of the virus forced London organisers to restrict next month’s rescheduled event to a small field of world class runners while Manchester’s alternative date also fell by the wayside, leaving the north east athletes out of luck for a second time.
However, their spirits were lifted when they were offered the opportunity to take part in a specially arranged race to be held in Wrexham on the same day as the London event, October 4.
But there are now fresh doubts as to whether that will go ahead because of the re-introduction of stricter controls south of the border. The Welsh organisers have put their race back to mid-October in the hope that the situation will have improved again by then.
Brian said: “Wrexham was my main goal after it was confirmed that London was no longer possible. But now I’ll have to see how the new date works in with my training. That’s assuming it goes ahead of course.
“It has been tough at times over the last few months training for a marathon without knowing if there’s going to be a race.”
Brian was aiming to improve on her best time of 2:42:51 set at Berlin last September.
She said: “I was in the best shape of my life just before lockdown, so it was frustrating not to be able to compete.”
Her views were echoed by Barrand who has been looking forward to making her marathon debut.
She said: “I just want to do a marathon and get it done. I’ve been waiting so long. If Wrexham is delayed by a couple of weeks that will be fine as it gives me some extra time to prepare.”
Bruce is also keen to broaden her marathon experience, having made her debut at Loch Ness last October where she finished eighth in 3:11:10.
She said: “It has been frustrating. I was in good shape before the original Manchester date in April and since then I’ve had another good block of training. We’ll have to see what happens.
“We heard at the weekend that there’s a Loch Rannoch marathon on October 18th, the same day as Wrexham, so that might be an option.”
The Metro trio were in action in Northern Ireland last weekend where they competed in the elite-only Antrim Coast half marathon.
Brian finished sixth in 1:15:33 while British champion Lily Partridge won in 1:11:36. It was the Aberdeen athlete’s first race of any distance since setting her PB of 1:14:23 at London in March.
Barrand shrugged off a niggling shin problem to slash 2min 23secs from her previous best time, set at Inverness three years ago, when clocking 1:17:42 for 10th position.
Bruce,who has a best time of 1:18:27 when striking bronze in the 2018 Scottish championships, was 15th in 1:22:19.
Brian and Bruce are both part of the Scottish Marathon Project set up by scottishathletics with the aim of assisting athletes prepare for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
French-born Barrand will be hoping to join her team-mates in the future as the Banchory-based runner is now eligible to represent Scotland,having lived in the country for eight years.