Edinburgh Athletic Club hail virtual races success

Neil Renault and Chloe Cox were among the Edinburgh Athletic Club members involvedNeil Renault and Chloe Cox were among the Edinburgh Athletic Club members involved
Neil Renault and Chloe Cox were among the Edinburgh Athletic Club members involved
Edinburgh Athletic Club may not be able to hold conventional summer race meetings due to the coronavirus crisis, but they have managed to salvage the situation by holding “virtual racing” for its athletes.

EAC’s virtual races involve solo completion of a set race distance on a given date, and submitting results to a centralised database for publication, and the system has been deemed a great success by club officials.

Organiser Pete Simpson explained: “We wanted to keep club members motivated when no formal races were on the horizon. The Grand Prix was really well supported. It gave everyone something to aim for, and athletes of all levels were eager to participate and score points.”

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Female series winner Chloe Cox agreed. “There was something for everyone with a good mix of distances,” she said. “Racing solo was challenging, but it was important to concentrate on the process and not just the result. I was really chuffed to win it!”

Neil Renault and Stuart Johnston battled closely for the overall male title. Both protagonists agreed to a socially-distanced, head-to-head, final 5km race on the wide Cramond promenade to determine the series 
winner. In an unconventional yet thrilling race, Johnston prevailed by 7 seconds, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Renault taking the overall series by a single point.

Renault, currently in heavy training for the prestigious 100km Anglo-Celtic Plate race later in the year, commented: “Recent training has been tough, but that final 5km race was excellent. It’s good to win such a closely-fought series. It was well-organised and maintained a sense of competition and connectedness with clubmates.”

The series also featured a time-handicap competition, allowing all participants to compete against each other on an equal footing. A rich vein of form saw Robin Kyle take this title, clocking several new Personal Best times in the process.

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Not to be outdone, the club’s Under-13 girls won the Scottish Athletics 4 x 3km relay title, beating clubs from Dundee and Glasgow into second and third. Jessica Taylor, Freya Pryce, Dashka MacDonald and Megan McKay each recorded impressive times in the region of 11-12 minutes.

Fastest of all was Jessica Taylor in a swift 11:51. She was delighted, enthusing: “It was a great result and I was surprised to be fastest. We have been training in isolation for so long without anyone to benchmark against, and it was so encouraging that we were all able to perform well. I’m looking forward to safely getting back to training with my pals again!”

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