Moray runner Kenny Wilson smashes his personal best to finish fifth in the Cheshire Elite Marathon
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KENNY Wilson said it was a "nice surprise" to run his first marathon in 18 months in his fastest-ever time.
The Speyside-based Moray Road Runners athlete is part of a Team Scotland marathon project and is bidding to gain selection for next year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
However the Covid-19 pandemic had denied him any races since his marathon debut in Frankfurt in 2019, and some crucial development opportunities.
With restrictions finally being lifted, Sunday's Cheshire Elite Marathon gave him the opportunity to end his long wait for races, and he did not disappoint.
He recorded a time of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 54 seconds to finish fifth in the race at Pulford, near the England-Wales border.
"Happy with that one," said Wilson. "Didn't think I was in that shape at the moment so a nice surprise.
"In a great group that worked really well together! Thanks Run Cheshire for putting on a great event."
He thanked his Moray coaches George and Carol Sim for all the training they had given him during his time with no competitive running.
Read more: Wilson sets strong marathon pace
Wilson shaved nearly four minutes off the time he recorded in Germany on his marathon debut in November, 2019.
He had hoped to race in 2020 and was targeting a time under the two hours, 20 minutes mark when he had been in prime condition during training.
The Scottish marathon project which Wilson is part of, plans to send a full team of three male and three female marathon runners to the Commonwealths.
The leading Scots runner is Callum Hawkins, who has run under 2:10 and was leading the last Commonwealth Games marathon in Australia wheh he collapsed close to the finish line suffering from heat exhaustion.
His brother Derek is next ranked, having run under 2:13 in his career and competed for Team Gb in the last Olympics in Rio.
Both have been selected for this year's Olympics in Tokyo and are likely to take up two Scotland places in Birmingham next year.
However, Wilson told the Northern Scot that if he could run under 2:18 or even 2:17 he could begin to enter the selectors' conversations for the Commonwealths.