Scotland 1500m international Myles Edwards hopes the charity track meeting he is organising in honour of his late dad will grow into a major event in future years.
The inaugural Mel’s Mile will go ahead at Aberdeen Sports Village next Sunday (October 17).
It’s the first of three events in the inaugural Safari race series being held to raise funds for the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, which supports under-privileged children and families in Kenya.
GEF was founded by Myles and Kenyan athlete Gideon Gathimba a few years after they first met at a track meeting organised by Mel at ASV in 2009.
Gathimba won the race in an impressive time of 3min 57.96sec, which was just outside the stadium record of 3:57.5 set nine years earlier by another two Kenyans, Harrison Makau and Edwin Maranga.
The second race in the series will be the Hazlehead 5k on Sunday November 14, followed by the Prime Four 3k at Kingswells on Sunday December 5.
Myles said: “I wanted to do something in my dad’s memory and this seemed appropriate.
“The idea is to have as many mile races as possible on the day with each one seeded according to everyone’s ability. Ideally we’d have pacemakers to help everyone run good times.
“It depends, of course, on how many people enter and the numbers might be relatively low for this first one.
“I’m being helped by Mark Pollard at scottishathletics, who has put the word around, so – with a bit of luck – we might get some guys travelling up to do it.
“I’d hoped to get some sponsorship to maybe attract some of the better athletes by offering help with travel costs, but that hasn’t happened this year.
“I know October isn’t the best time of year for a track race, but with the uncertainties over Covid I couldn’t plan anything for the summer.
“In 2022, I’d probably look to hold it in July or August. And in future years I’d like to see it develop in a similar way to the Monument Mile in Stirling – it started off as a small-scale event, but now they have about 30 races and it’s a fantastic occasion.
“It would be great to have races for all abilities and maybe someone will eventually beat Gideon’s time.”
Participants in the series will receive a themed medal of an animal found in Kenya’s famed Maasai Mara game reserve.
Edwards, the Scottish 1500m champion in 2015, won’t be able to run in Mel’s Mile as he’ll be too busy with organisational duties.
But he was in record-breaking mood when winning the opening round of the Metro Aberdeen Winter Proms 3k road race series.
The Aberdeen AAC runner, who grasped the initiative from the start, completed the city beachfront course in 8min 35secs to clip three secs off the previous event record he set six years ago.
He said: “I had the record in my mind as a target and the conditions were good. Although it was windy, it was more of a side-wind, it was never in your face.
“I didn’t feel particularly good over the second kilometre and thought the pace might have slipped, so I was surprised at the finish to get under the previous record. So, I’m happy with that.”
Martin Mueller was runner-up in 9:52, with his Metro Aberdeen clubmate Tom Martin finishing a further five secs behind in third position.
Fourth-placed Michael Barker, 9:57, was first in the 40-49 age group, Neill Kelly (Metro Aberdeen),10:10, led the way in the 50-59 bracket, and his clubmate Graham McDermid, 11:46, was quickest of the over-60s. John MacPherson was the fastest over-70 in 14:29.
Scotland international Kayleigh Jarrett (Shettleston Harriers) won the women’s division of the race in 10:45, and she was followed by youngsters Aimee Tawse (Aberdeen AAC), 10:56, and Hannah Taylor (Ellon AAC), 11:12.
Gillian Strachan (Fraserburgh),11:52, was first over-40, and Ailsa Webster (Jogscotland Westhill),12:35, took top spot among the over-50s – 48 hours before winning her age group at the Loch Ness Marathon. Sheila Gauld was the best of the over-60s.
Entries for Mel’s Mile close on Sunday evening and full details of the Safari series can be found at gathimbaedwardsfoundation.org/safari-series
Run Balmoral returns
Entries have now opened for the 2022 edition of one of Scotland’s biggest and most spectacular running events.
Run Balmoral, which regularly attracts more than 5,000 entrants for its varied programme of races catering for all ages, has been cancelled in each of the past two years because of the pandemic.
But entries are now being taken for the 2022 event to be held over the weekend of April 23-24.
Run Balmoral Chair James Knowles is looking forward to welcoming runners back to the Deeside estate from far and wide for what will be the 23rd edition of the races.
He said: “It has been a long wait since our last event, in 2019, and we would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during what has been a traumatic time for so many people.
“The support we have received from runners, sponsors, suppliers and the wider local community has been terrific and, although significant challenges remain, we are excited to be able to confirm that our full programme of races is planned to go ahead over the weekend of April 23-24.
“Entries are now open and we would encourage you to sign up as soon as possible because limited places are available as a large number of people have deferred places from 2020 and 2021.
“We will be continuing with our series of special medals depicting notable landmarks within and around the Balmoral Estate. The 2022 medal will feature Balmoral Castle. So, don’t miss out on the chance to secure one of these limited edition mementos.”
Full details can be found at www.runbalmoral.com