Metro Aberdeen’s Cameron Strachan is among the favourites to win the 10K at tomorrow’s Baxters festival of running which has attracted 9,400 runners to Inverness.
The Scotland international is, however, playing down his chances of success as he is already looking towards 2020.
Strachan was in excellent form at Stirling last month where he set a personal best time of 30min 12secs when finishing fourth in the Scottish 10K road running championships.
He said: “My build-up to Stirling was quite intense for quite a few months as I wanted to do really well there.
“I was delighted with my time, but it was frustrating to miss out on a medal by just one second.
“So, I’ve taken a bit of a break since then although I’ve been training every day, but just not as intensely as before.
“I’m about to start my winter training with a view to getting into peak shape for the national cross country championships at the end of February.
“That’s my next big target and I felt I needed a bit of a break between the end of the summer season and starting the cross country campaign.
“I’ve still been running every day, but I’ve not been training as hard as I was before Stirling.”
Strachan may have eased the throttle back on his training but that doesn’t mean to say he isn’t capable of a quick time tomorrow.
“I feel I have a faster time in me but whether it will happen this weekend remains to be seen. I’d really like to get under 30 mins at some point but I’m not sure if it will come just yet.
“But I’d never rule it out, especially if we find ourselves in a competitive race with a few guys running at that pace.”
One man who is more than capable of testing Strachan over the fast Inverness course is Dundee Hawkhill’s James Donald.
Strachan said: “He finished one second behind me at Stirling and he has been running well all year, so that could be interesting.
“Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to the race.
“The pressure is off me because I’ve already got a personal best time this year, so anything more is a bonus.”
Others hoping to be in the mix include Aberdeen Beach 10K champion Sean Chalmers (Inverness Harriers), Moray duo Ewan Davidson and James Wilson, Metro Aberdeen’s Ben Ward and Jason Kelly, Fraserburgh teenager Max Abernethy and leading north veterans Donnie MacDonald (Inverness Harriers) and Gareth Jenkins (Moray).