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Moray athlete Kenny Wilson is setting a quick marathon pace and is keen to impress in an elite race in Wrexham to push himself in contention for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham

By Craig Christie

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AN unexpected marathon personal best has given Kenny Wilson a timely boost in his quest to make the next Commonwealth Games.

Kenny Wilson on the run
Kenny Wilson on the run

The Moray Road Runner’s exploits on the north athletics circuit saw him run for Scotland over a variety of distances in recent years.

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Wilson (30) then stepped up to the 26.2-mile marathon mark and landed a place in Scottish Athletics’ marathon project, which aims to send two full teams of three male and female runners to the Commonwealths in 2022, hosted by Birmingham.

He clocked 2:22.39 in his debut marathon in Frankfurt in October, and has overcome the frustration of not being able to do more competitive races due to Covid-19 by posting an even faster time in training this week.

Kenny Wilson running in his marathon debut in Frankfurt.
Kenny Wilson running in his marathon debut in Frankfurt.

What made last Sunday’s training effort – a minute quicker than his German race time – all the sweeter was that he didn’t plan to run the full marathon distance but just wanted to test his marathon pace over a slightly shorter distance.

“We mapped out a course for doing a 24-mile training run and realised about mile 20 that we were going to be a bit over, and it worked out 26.2 when I got back to my coach’s house,” he said.

“The legs were feeling pretty good and I got offered a lift home at 24, but I thought I would just jog it in. With about a mile to go I realised I was on PB pace without really knowing.

“It wasn’t a flat out effort or anything. We did a few warm up miles and a session in the middle, five three-mile marathon pace efforts with a mile in between just floating along.

“For the last four miles I was kind of cruising in, not really pushing myself and with a mile to go I noticed it was PB pace so it felt pretty good managing that in training.”

Coronavirus stopped all major marathons in 2020 including London, which Wilson planned to run. Instead, organisers of the capital event are staging an elite race on October 4 for athletes who have posted under two hours, 20 minutes, a time which the Moray athlete has yet to clock.

On home soil winning his home Moray Road Runners 10k last year. Photo: Daniel Forsyth.
On home soil winning his home Moray Road Runners 10k last year. Photo: Daniel Forsyth.

On the same day, a marathon is being held in Wrexham to accommodate those like Wilson who just missed the London cut.

“It looks like a (staggered) field for runners that can do 2:16 to 2:32 and to be honest it could be the ideal race for me. Hopefully I can get in the sub 2:20 bracket .

“I feel like I am in my best-ever form over the summer and I’ve just not been able to show it to anyone, apart from people following my training on Strava.

“I am doing good times in training so it will be really good to put it all together and see what’s in the legs. I’m looking forward to it.”

Two Scots males are already destined to make the Scotland Commonwealth Games team, with brothers Callum and Derek Hawkins also selected to run for Team GB at next year's Olympics.

The third men's spot could be up for grabs and Wilson is determined to continue developing his ability at a distance which is still relatively new to him.

"I’m still learning all the time, and the fuelling and pacing is all stuff you have to get right on the day.

"Training (with George and Carol Sim) has been really good and it's been geared towards making the marathon pace feel easier for me."

Kenny Wilson with coach George Sim on the bike
Kenny Wilson with coach George Sim on the bike

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