Allan Christie could be forgiven for putting his feet up after setting his two fastest marathon times and winning the gruelling 50k Bennachie ultra trail race – all within just 14 days.
The Metro Aberdeen runner certainly plans to enjoy a short break from serious training after an epic fortnight of endurance running, which took him from Berlin to Bennachie with a stopover in London.
Christie’s trip to Germany at the tail end of September was always his top target for the year and he delivered the goods in fine style.
The 40-year-old engineer completed the Berlin race in 2hr 31min 15secs to slash a whopping 12mins off his previous best time set at Chicago in 2019.
Seven days later, on the streets of London, he produced another solid marathon performance, clocking 2:36:01.
That would have been a big enough double to satisfy most runners, but Christie was on a roll and decided to complete his 14-day tour closer to home by tackling the Bennachie ultra trail 50k.
And, to cap a memorable spell of muscle-buckling action, he battled round the rain-sodden course in 4:13:35 to take top spot.
Christie said: “Berlin was my main target race and London was a back-up in case travel restrictions prevented me from getting to Germany.
“Bennachie was another back-up. I didn’t intend to do it, but it’s a nice race and, as I was feeling OK after the two marathons, I decided to have a pop.
“Lockdown was kind to me as I was able to focus on my running.
“In the lead-up to Berlin, I knew I was in good form and I was hitting 100 miles per week in training. It’s the first time I’ve got anywhere near that without falling apart.
“In some of the races I did before Berlin, I realised I was in better shape than I thought, so I lowered my target time. I was swithering between aiming for 2:35 and 2:30.
“I didn’t quite get to the lower one, but it was a tough day, very hot. Also I got a stitch, which, although not debilitating, was definitely annoying and held me back.
“I certainly feel I can get under 2:30 in the future.
“In London I had no intention of going hard. I made a mess of it in 2017 when, on another hot day, I got carried away at the start, but fell apart after 10k. So I had some unfinished business there and just wanted to do it properly.”
The Bennachie result was a bonus for Christie, who finished third behind Great Britain mountain running international Robbie Simpson in the 2020 race.
His Metro clubmate Jason Kelly, who was runner-up in 2020, was also in the field, but he dropped out after around 30k.
Christie said: “I was surprised when Jason pulled out and I found myself in the lead, which is not what I expected. I felt a bit of pressure then and, although I struggled towards the end, I was able to hang on.”
The Metro man will enjoy a short recovery before possibly lacing up his trainers for another ultra race next month.
He said: “I’ve signed up for the Dava Way 50k, but I’m not sure if I’ll do it.
“It was originally scheduled for April, which would have been ideal, but was postponed until November. So, I’ll see how I feel nearer the time.
“After that I’ll probably get stuck into some cross country races as I’d like to give that a go.”
Christie has no definite marathon plans for the coming year, but is keen to complete the world majors series at some point in the future.
He said: “I’ve done London, New York, Chicago, Berlin and Boston, so that just leaves Tokyo. But it might be tough to get into that one for the next couple of years as it has been postponed a few times.
“I’ll probably do a marathon next spring, but at the moment I’ve no idea where that might be.”
North-east pair recognised at scottishathletics awards
Aberdeen AAC’s Nichola Crawford and Bob Masson were honoured at the scottishathletics annual awards evening in Glasgow.
Olympic track star Laura Muir picked up the main accolade when being named Athlete of the Year following her 1500m silver medal and British record in Tokyo.
Crawford was named Community Coach of the Year and Masson, who has been involved in the sport for well over 50 years as a respected competitor, coach and official, was made an honorary life member of scottishathletics.