Rhona Auckland finished a close second to Stockport Harrier Jess Coulson in the Morrison’s Great Edinburgh 10 Mile Run at Holyrood Park.
Despite the imminence of her final exams at Edinburgh University, the European Under-23 Cross Country champion confirmed that her top form at the recent World Cross Championships in China was no fluke.
The 21-year-old medical sciences student chased Coulson home up the slight incline in the park road to clock 56 minutes 12 seconds in her debut at the infrequently run distance.
That was just six seconds behind Coulson, the Great Edinburgh 10k winner in 2012, whose 10 miles best is an impressive 52:53 on a much flatter course.
“I’m pleased with that – I was only 20 metres down at most and I was gaining on her at the finish,” said Auckland.
Auckland and Coulson ran together for the first five miles till Coulson broke clear on an uphill stretch just after halfway.
Auckland’s next race will be the 10,000 metres at the British Universities Championships and she confirmed that for the time being at least she will continue to concentrate on the track 10k as she bids to qualify for the World Championships in Beijing later this year.
The men’s runner-up, Fife’s Andrew Lemoncello, who flies back to his Flagstaff, USA base today, was beaten by over a minute by Ethiopian Abeje Ayana, who clocked 48:44 with the Fife AC athlete second in 50:02 and Stockport Harrier Peter Huck third in 50:30, just ahead of Eritrean Shettleston Harrier Twelde Mengisteab, 50:47.
Like Auckland, Lemoncello tried to go with the leader, in his case, Ayana, but was forced to drop back: “The hills were killing me and the wind was a bother so we were hiding behind each other,” explained the Glasgow 2014 10k finalist.
“I’m aiming for a half marathon in Eugene next weekend and another in San Diego before I head for the Berlin Marathon in a bid for the Rio 2016 qualifying time.”
The best Capital performance came from Bryan Mackie (EAC), who was sixth in 53:22.