Norwegian runner Julie Brox is expected to make an impact on the north-east running scene in 2021 once more races appear on the fixture list.
The 32-year-old mum-of-two hasn’t experienced many chances to compete since arriving in Aberdeen a little over a year ago.
She achieved three first-place finishes in the Hazlehead parkrun and a runners-up position in a Proms 3k race before the coronavirus lockdown brought an end to all running events.
Brox returned to action last weekend with an impressive performance in the Metro Aberdeen cross country race at Inverdee, which was restricted to a limited number of members.
The local running community is excited to see how she fares when bigger racing events return.
Brox is without doubt a talented athlete. She is a former Norwegian indoor 3,000m champion and has a best 10k road running time of 35min 46secs set two years ago at the Hytteplanmila race, which is considered Norway’s best.
She is, however, extremely modest and reluctantly revealed some of her earlier achievements.
She said: “I was on the junior national team one year, but didn’t do that many races because of injuries. I won the indoor 3,000m in 2010 and won some titles when I was even younger.”
Brox moved to the north-east when her husband, Hakon, took up a post with an Aberdeen-based oil company last November.
Hakon is also a class act, having represented Norway in the 2014 European athletics championships marathon in Zurich, where he was 33rd in 2:21:47.
He has a best time of 2:19:44 set at the Tokyo marathon that same year, and has recorded 29:35 for a road 10k.
Brox said: “Hakon won a race in Oslo and we used the prize to pay for a trip to the Tokyo marathon. His performance there was good enough to get him selected for the European championships.
“He still runs every day, but doesn’t compete. He decided to retire after the European championships as our first baby was two months old at the time. He decided he couldn’t get any better than he had been.
“Before coming to Aberdeen we lived in the north of Norway for six years. It was difficult to train in winter, but we did a lot of cross country skiing, which is very tough.”
Brox paid tribute to the role her Metro Aberdeen clubmate Laura Sarkis has played in maintaining her enthusiasm in recent months.
She said: “Laura got in touch after she saw my runs on Strava.
“It seems I was doing the same routes as her and beating some of her records for them. We started running together after lockdown and she has kept me motivated.
“She also got me interested in cycling. I run every day and two days every week I also cycle.”
Julie and Hakon were both coached by Norway’s former Olympic Games and European championship runner Knut Kvalheim when they were based in Norway.
Brox said: He gave us all our training sessions and we still follow his ideas now.”
She is enjoying life in Aberdeen and has encouraged her six-year-old son Sigurd to get involved with running. She said: “He took part in a few of the Duthie park junior parkruns before lockdown. That is such a good idea for young runners.”
Brox also hopes to take advantage of her stay in Scotland to tackle some mountain runs in the year ahead, possibly even attempting the Ben Nevis race.
She said: “We were over at Fort William in September and went up Ben Nevis, it was so beautiful. I didn’t know about the race, but maybe I should try it.”