Robbie Simpson travels to Livingston on Saturday with the aim of becoming the first north-east athlete for 35 years to win the senior men’s title in the East District cross country championships.
The Deeside Runners club member, who hopes to be named in the 2018 Scotland Commonwealth Games team to be announced next week, is looking forward to the challenge.
The last north-east runner to win the title was Aberdeen AAC’s Graham Laing in 1982.
Simpson has finished in the silver medal position in two previous appearances at these championships, in 2012 and 2013, but hopes to go one better this weekend.
The Banchory man, who has made his name on the mountain and road running scene in recent years, is ready to put in a serious challenge.
He said: “My aim is to run as hard as possible, but it’s my first cross country race for a few years, so I’m not sure how I’ll feel.
“I had a good summer of mountain racing in Europe and since returning home I’ve done some decent speed training, so I should be able to push quite strongly.
“It’s always a good field and, although I’ve never won it, I was second on a couple of occasions.
“Obviously I’ll be going all out for it this time and my goal is to win, but I don’t know who is likely to be there.
“I think Dundee Hawkhill’s Kris Jones will run and he won last year. I expect him to give me a hard run.”
Simpson’s rivals are also likely to include fellow Scotland international Michael Ferguson, who heads a strong Aberdeen AAC squad hoping to do well in the team competition.
Baker Hughes 10km champion Broc Drury is expected to return from injury to take part, while the Aberdeen starting list also includes Will Mackay, James Hoad, Rory Muir, Steven Murray, Rory Stead, Fearghas Thommson, Euan Webster and Andrew Ferguson.
Aberdeen have won the men’s title three times in the history of the competition, which dates back to 1899, and the last of these successes came in season 1982-1983.
Alexander Chepelin, who scored a dramatic last-gasp victory in last weekend’s Running Shop cross country race at Balgownie playing fields, is another north-east athlete hoping to do well.
The Great Britain orienteering international will be representing Edinburgh University.
Hamish Battle and Tom Brian lead a large Metro Aberdeen contingent in the race.
Adam Brown hopes to follow up his good win in the Balgownie cross country meeting by putting in another good performance in the under-17 boys’ race at Livingston.
The Bridge of Don Academy pupil is confident that his team will do well in their quest to give the club its first victory in this age group for a decade.
He said:”We have a very strong team as it includes people like Jack Gillespie, Harry Hall, Nic Tierney and Michael Watt.”
Nathan Tosh will carry Metro Aberdeen’s hopes in this race.
Gaspard Lecrivain and Sam Griffin, first and second in last weekend’s Balgownie meeting, will lead Aberdeen AAC’s bid for honours in the U15 boys’ race, while Kai Crawford and Aleksander Jovcic will compete in the U13 competition.