Scottish Half Marathon champions Fraser Stewart and Natasha Phillips celebrate in Inverness (photos via Inverness Half Marathon)
By Fraser Clyne
Natasha Phillips praised the support she has received from Eilish McColgan after speeding to a sensational Course Record-breaking performance in Inverness to win the Scottish Half Marathon title.
The 18 year-old Dundee Hawkhill Harriers athlete, who only took up running a couple of years ago, sprinted home in 71:53 to smash the previous women’s mark of 73:21 set by Kenya’s Cathy Mutwa in 2007.
It’s the 12th fastest time ever recorded by a Scottish woman and it earned her a first national title.
‘I knew what the Course Record was, but I honestly never thought I’d get it,’ said Natasha.
‘But there was such an amazing atmosphere out there with pipers and great support on the route, so I really enjoyed it. And the course is really good.
‘I went out really fast as I felt great, but when I was looking at the splits on my watch I was thinking it might be too quick.
‘I was leading for the first few kilometres but then fell back into second position. It wasn’t until the final 5k that I was in front again but I could feel my legs beginning to go when we got onto the track.’
There’s no doubt this was a sensational performance form an athlete who only celebrated her 18th birthday last month, but Phillips is taking it all in her stride.
‘I used to be a competitive swimmer and I did triathlons but I only took up running during lockdown, ‘ she revealed.
‘I couldn’t have done any of this without the help I’ve had from Eilish (McColgan). She has supported me through providing a scholarship training grant which allows me to travel to races all over the country, including this one .’
On a day which produced many fast times, runner-up Fionnuala Ross (Shettleston Harriers) was also inside the previous record when clocking a personal best 72:17.
Ginie Barrand (Metro Aberdeen) set her fastest time of 74:03 to take the bronze medal and she led her club to the Scottish team title with backing from Clare Bruce (fifth, 79:34) and Nicola MacDonald (seventh, 80:23)
Sarah Attwood (Skye and Lochalsh) was first in the North District women’s championship and also struck gold in the Scottish W40 masters division with a time of 81:01.
As Atwood took the North W40 title, the senior…
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