Athletics: Metro AC on right road for medals after close call at championships

Metro Aberdeen’s Scotland international Fiona Brian believes her club’s women’s squad is ready to challenge for more honours on the cross country and road running stage over the next few months.

Brian finished fourth at last weekend’s Scottish East District Cross Country Championships at Livingston and frustratingly missed a team gold.

Metro’s other scorers were Kayleigh Jarrett (seventh, 23:48), Ginie Barrand (17th, 24:56) and Claire Bruce (19th, 25:01).

That gave the North-east side 47 points, the same as Fife AC, but Brian’s team lost out on countback.

When there is a tie the outcome is decided by the finishing position of each club’s fourth scorer, so the gold medals went to Fife whose last counter, Fiona Bracegirdle, finished one place and one second ahead of Metro’s Bruce.

It was an agonising way to lose but Brian was pleased with everyone’s efforts.

She said: “The team contest was very close and quite frustrating for us, but it was still a good solid performance.

“Claire would normally have finished higher but she had a breathing problem in the very cold conditions.

“She was a bit gutted because she knows it affected her, but she wanted to carry on for the team, and she did really well.

“Looking ahead to the National Championships in February, we are confident of doing well. We were third last year behind Central AC and Edinburgh University, so we are aiming to do better than that.

“Everyone is running much better than last year, so I feel we have a good chance of silver or maybe even gold. It depends, of course, on who else is running for the other clubs, but we will have a strong squad.

“We will also be strong for the national road relay championships later in the season. We’ll have Nicola Gauld available to run for us then, which is another boost.”

Brian was happy with her own performance at Livingston, saying: “It was my best performance in the East Championships. I was sixth last year and before that my best was seventh.

“I was pleased with the way the race went even though it would have been good to have been in with a better chance of an individual medal.

“I was lying around 10th at the end of the first of the two laps of the 6.4km course but I was picking people off all the time. By the start of the second lap I was in fourth position but it didn’t really change after that.

“Edinburgh University’s Steph Pennycook was well ahead but I thought I might have been able to catch the next two, Fife’s Annabel Simpson and Edinburgh AC’s Rebecca Burns.

“But they were battling with each other and that seemed to help both of them keep ahead of me.”

Brian, who helped Metro win the British and Scottish marathon team titles at London in April, is now beginning to plan her other races for the immediate future.

She said: “Apart from cross country I also want to focus a bit more on road running. I had thought about doing the Ribble Valley 10km later this month but we’ve been doing a lot of travelling lately, so I’m not sure about that.

“I’m also undecided at the moment about the Scottish Inter-district Championships in January, but I’ll definitely be doing the nationals at Falkirk in February.

“I don’t think I’ll be running at the London marathon next April. I did two marathons last year and I don’t feel as though my body would stand up to another one just yet.”

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