Edinburgh AC marathon star Freya Ross bids for her seventh Scottish National senior women’s cross country title at Callendar Park, Falkirk tomorrow.
And her closest rival could be an Edinburgh University student ten years her junior.
Rhona Auckland from Banchory is already the Scottish Under-20 champion and picked up a gold medal with the British team in that age group at the European Championships in Belgrade last December.
Auckland could still have a chance of selection for Glasgow 2014 for either 5000 or 10,000 metres provided she achieves the qualifying standard which she will not be able to do over the country, however well she covers the eight kilometres at Falkirk.
Ross has still to be named for the Scottish team for Glasgow in July, but that should be no more than a formality now that she has achieved the required time which she did in Japan last November.
She is currently second ranked Scot behind the already chosen Susan Partridge, who, although entered, is not certain to run tomorrow.
Ross missed last year’s race after a four-year winning streak and has had a succession of injuries, the most recent being a foot problem: “I’m pleased with my progress – my foot feels 100 per cent better,” she said. She will be mindful of both the surprise winner last year. Beth Potter (Glasgow), and the runner-up Rosie Smith, who could give the local Hunter’s Bog Trotters their first success in this race.
Callum Hawkins (Kilbarchan) could also achieve a bit of sporting history by winning the men’s title and following his brother Derek, who won in 2011 and 2012, but has other priorities this year as he has already been chosen for the Glasgow 2014 Marathon.
Callum certainly has the right credentials to win having finished seventh in the European Under-23 race in Belgrade last year and sixth in the Great Edinburgh race at Holyrood last month.
But a whole posse of Central AC runners will be pursuing him including Andrew Butchart, Robert Russell, Alex Hendry and Scott McDonald, not to mention the defending champion Ethiopian Wegene Tafesse of Cambuslang and the 2013 runner-up Deeside’s Robbie Simpson.
Corstorphine picked up a bronze medal in the team event last year and he could be the Capital’s best medal hope again while European Under-20 1500 metres champion Jake Wightman (EAC) should have good chance of adding to his honours in the under-20 event where his main rivals could be two West triathletes Marc Austin and Grant Sheldon.