Aberdeen’s Rob Sinclair is in line to represent Great Britain for the first time after producing a series of outstanding record-breaking performances during 2017.
The north-east athlete picked up the Scottish ultra-distance trail running title in August when he won the Devil o’ the Highlands 42-mile race between Tyndrum and Fort William.
Sinclair completed the challenging mountainous route in 5hr 12min 21secs to slice 81secs off the previous record set by Glasgow’s Casey Morgan in 2014.
That result completed his triple crown of Scottish trail race successes which started in April when he won the Highland Fling 53-mile run between Milngavie and Tyndrum, cutting close to 10mins off the previous best time when recording 6hr 41min 15secs
Then in June he demolished the West Highland Way record, completing the tortuous 95-mile route between Milngavie and Fort William in 13hr 41min 08secs, 33mins faster than anyone had previously managed.
These performances have captured the attention of Great Britain’s selectors who will next month name a team for the world ultra-trail running championships to be held over a 50-mile course at Penyagolosa, Spain on May 12.
Officials have said there will be no trial and that selection is to be based on an assessment of performances from 2017.
Sinclair said: “I have been asked to submit a cv of my performances and to let them know which other races I’m planning to do over the first three months of 2018.
“I need to submit my application by the first week in January and the team will be named nearer the end of the month.
“All I can do is give them the details of my races and my training plans, then see what happens.
“It would be brilliant to get the chance to do it and find out how I’d get on competing against the best guys. It really would be an amazing opportunity.”
Sinclair can do little more than wait for a decision but he is already putting meticulous plans in place to ensure he is ready for the challenge, if the call comes.
He said: “My focus for 2018 is to do races of around 50 miles in distance, which is the length of the world championship race.
“I’ve had my entry accepted for the Trans Canaria ultra run at the end of February which would be part of my build-up. There’s a choice of race distances but I’m doing the 40-mile one which includes around 10,000ft of ascent.
“I am also planning to go out to Spain to have a look at the world championship course and train on parts of it.
“My girlfriend’s patents have a house quite close to it, so we would be able to stay there.
“I’m thinking of going in mid-to-late March and it would be a great chance to see exactly what the course is like. That would be a big help if I got selected.
“In the meantime I’m doing other things to get acclimatised for the heat. I’ve been in the sauna and steam rooms after training and I’ll do some sweat runs, wearing lots of layers of clothing on my route”
Meanwhile, Nicola Gauld, pictured, will attempt to win the women’s title for the fourth time when she competes in Scotland’s first 10km of the new year at Lumphanan next Tuesday.
The Metro Aberdeen Scotland international road runner set the current course record of 35min 44sec on her first appearance in 2013, before winning again in 2016 when clocking 37:13 and again last January in 37:03.
Gauld showed fine form to win the Lossiemouth Turkey Trot 10-mile race earlier in the month and she will start as favourite to take top spot again next week.
Scotland hill running international Steph Provan (Deeside Runners) is among Gauld’s rivals.
The Aboyne athlete, who is the reigning Scottish hill running race series champion, won the Lumphanan event in 2014.
Other contenders for the top prizes include Jennifer Elvin and Hazel Wyness who were both members of the Metro Aberdeen side which won the British marathon team title at London in April.
Veronique Oldham (Aberdeen AAC), winner in 2011 and third in 2016, is also in the line-up as is Carolyn Milne who was runner-up in 2013.
Robbie Simpson (Deeside Runners), the men’s course record holder with a time of 31:17 from 2014, is undecided as to whether he will take part as he is competing in a major 10km road race in Paris on Hogmanay.
The Banchory athlete, who is to represent Scotland in the marathon at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, will wait to see how he feels after the Paris competition.