Mhairi MacLennan targets the track after first gold

Steph Twell won gold in the senior race
Steph Twell won gold in the senior race
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Mhairi MacLennan wants to target track success next summer after the Edinburgh athete returned home from the European cross-country championships in Slovakia with her maiden international gold medal.

The 22-year-old, who works as a language tutor in the Capital, was ninth, just over a minute behind German victor Alina Reh in the individual Under-23 standings with British team-mate Jess Judd snaring bronze as GB&NI did enough to snare team victory.

And MacLennan admits it’s time to start finding another level following 18 months of frustrating injuries.

“My personal bests are a couple of years behind because I was stubborn when I was younger and didn’t do track,” she said. “I have specific aims for the times I want. I know every athlete wants to run at an Olympics or a Commonwealths but I need to take small chunks off my times if that’s something I want to achieve.”

GB&NI topped the overall standings with nine medals with Harriet Knowles-Jones leading the way in Samorin by taking the Under-20 title. Central AC’s Andy Butchart landed individual and team bronze in the senior men’s race while there were team golds for fellow Scots Steph Twell in the senior women’s event and Cameron Boyek in the 4x1000 mixed relay.

But MacLennan concedes her future plans, and those of many Capital hopefuls, are up in the air following the closure of Meadowbank Stadium that’s left several athletics clubs homeless.

“I’m not sure where we’ll go,” she said. “We don’t do any track work over the winter so at the moment there’s a lot of training in the park with head torches. By the summer, my coach will have planned something but the whole of Edinburgh is going to have to find something. It’s just a bit of a disaster.”