Road running returns to the north as strong field ready to contest Back to Basics 10k starting and finishing at Benromach Distillery in Forres
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INTERNATIONAL athletics talent will be on show in Moray when road racing returns for the Back to Basics 10k.
Sunday's event, starting and finishing at the Benromach distillery in Forres, sees the end of a six month wait for athletics action in the north.
The race is being staged over a well-tried and accurately measured course and has attracted a high quality field.
It was a free entry and was oversubscribed, meaning a ballot for places and a waiting list being put in place.
A successful pilot event was held over the same route in December with all Covid protocols in place, but the road towards holding this second race has been rocky in the extreme thanks to the second wave of the pandemic.
Race organiser Paul Rogan, from Moray Road Runners, said the event has been a long time in coming.
"We had a great first race in December before things closed down again and we thought we would be OK to have the next one a month ago.
"However, restrictions hadn't lifted far enough by then so we had to cancel, and then we also had to survive the scare of Moray being held in Level 3 for that extra time before we could give this weekend's event the go ahead.
"But this time it's for real and we are just so pleased at being able to get racing going again in the north."
The women's race includes four full Scottish internationals including Megan Keith who made her Scotland senior debut at 3000m on the track last month at Loughborough.
A Great Britain junior internationalist, she has also gained the 3000m qualifying standard for the European Junior Championships.
Fellow Inverness Harriers athlete Jenny Bannerman, the current Scottish 10K silver medallist, has a number of international appearances on the road at distances between 10K and half marathon.
Kirstie Rogan of Moray and Caroline Marwick of Highland Hill Runners are both hill internationalists on a change of terrain and gradient as they tackle the flat 6.2 mile single loop course.
Top male runners include Will MacKay and Ben Ward, who both run for Metro Aberdeen and Max Abernethy who competes for Fraserburgh.
The event, where spectators are not yet permitted, will be run in two Covid compliant waves, the first setting off at 10am and the second ten minutes later.
The next race in the series is due to take place on Sunday July 4.