Road racing returns to the North in Forres on Sunday (June 6th) after a six month delay kept athletes out of action for far longer than expected. The Back To Basics 10K, held over a well tried and accurately measured course starting and finishing close to the Benromach Distillery, has attracted a high quality field including a number of international athletes both senior and junior.

The event, which incorporates many traditional values, hence its title, has a free entry. A hugely successful pilot event was held over the same route in December with all Covid protocols in place, but the road towards holding this second race has been rocky in the extreme thanks to the second wave of the pandemic.
“This has been a long time coming,” said race organiser Paul Rogan of Moray Road Runners. “We had a great first race in December before things closed down again and we thought we would be OK to have the next one a month ago. However restrictions hadn’t lifted far enough by then so we had to cancel, and then we also had to survive the scare of Moray being held in Level 3 for that extra time before we could give this weekend’s event the go ahead. But this time it’s for real and we are just so pleased at being able to get racing going again in the North.”

There were several anxious days while it was unclear what Moray’s Covid status would be, but the action was confirmed immediately the area moved to Level 2.

Most of the international talent lies in the women’s contest with four full Scotland representatives among the entrants. The favourite looks to be Megan Keith who made her Scotland senior debut at 3000m on the track last month at Loughborough and the Great Britain junior internationalist has also gained the 3000m qualifying standard for the European Junior Championships. Her fellow Inverness Harrier Jenny Bannerman, the current Scottish 10K silver medallist, has a number of international appearances on the road at distances between 10K and half marathon. And two athletes who are hill internationalists make a change of surface and gradient when Kirstie Rogan of Moray and Caroline Marwick of Highland Hill Runners tackle the flat 6.2 mile single loop course. Also highly rated is Metro’s Ginie Barrand.

Top seeded among the men are two athletes from the North East – Ben Ward of Metro Aberdeen and Max Abernethy of Fraserburgh. The top ranked runners from the Highlands is Finlay Todd of Ross County. Inverness athletes Angus Smith and Lucas Cairns are highly rated among the junior entrants. Seeding could alter slightly in the event of late entry changes.

The event, where spectators are not yet permitted, will be run in two Covid compliant waves, the first setting off at 10am and the second ten minutes later.

The next race in the series is due to take place on Sunday July 4th.

Charles Bannerman
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