As she returns to full fitness and prepares for the World Mountain Running Championships in Poland on 9 September, Sarah McCormack was at Scotstoun on Saturday for some relative speedwork at the Scottish National Senior Track and Field Championships and the defence of her 5000m title. Having been troubled by a niggling foot injury which caused her withdrawal from the Ireland team for the European Mountain Running Championships in early July, Sarah was hoping for a good test as a measure of her progress but a poor field, both in quantity and quality, and a very stiff breeze at the Glasgow track, meant a late re-assessment of her race plan which effectively turned into a solo time trial from the gun. Sarah retained her title comfortably in 16.14, five seconds faster than her winning time last year, and just 25m short of lapping the silver medallist.
In the circumstances, that was a good indicator that Sarah is back running well. We’ve been getting some input from Chris Jones, Ireland National Endurance coach and personal coach of European cross-country champion Fionnuala Britton, which has been very helpful and a bit different for Sarah, and he was pleased with that performance. It was disappointing not to get a race but her winning time and the consistency of her lap splits in the stiff breeze meant it was still a valuable outing. But where was everyone else? There is a decent crop of female distance runners in Scotland at the moment, with a good few contenders for the Glasgow 2014 qualifying time for the 5000m who we’d hoped would provide a stern test for Sarah but puzzlingly none of them had even entered. Maybe the famous McCormack kick scared them all off!!