Laura Muir swapped a packed stadium in London for Dunnikier Park in Kirkcaldy on Saturday as she raced for the first time since the World Championships.
And the double London 2017 finalist didn’t disappoint the crowds at the Lindsays Short Course Championships as she won the Scottish 4K cross-country gold for the fourth time in five years.
It was a typically imperious performance from Muir to win in 12.53 and by almost 60 seconds before Central AC’s Cameron Boyek proved his class to take the win in a keenly-contested Senior Men’s race.
Boyek won by four seconds as the battles raged a few metres behind him and that success led Central men home for three-in-a-row in the team race in this particular event.
Laura’s decision to race at Kirkcaldy – and she has been a loyal supporter of the 4K for the past half dozen years – had captured media attention and within the athletics community in Scotland.
The Rio Olympian took the advantage early on and then built a bigger gap the longer the race went on; although Kirkcaldy’s Steph Pennycook (13.47) made the best of giving chase to make sure she took a home town silver medal in the colours of team champions Edinburgh Uni Hare and Hound.
Central AC’s Morag MacLarty, another athlete who has made a huge contribution to these events over the years, was third in 13.50. “I really enjoyed being out there racing again and loved the support around the course,” said Laura, who raced in the colour of Glasgow Uni and will soon turn her attention towards the World Indoors in Birmingham.
Fife AC also had a hugely successful day, with a handful of individual and team medals and a fantastic national title.
Talented Kirkcaldy junior Ben Sandilands had the run of his life, leading the race from gun to tape to take the U15 boys title.
The Balwearie High School pupil, who also recorded the second fastest U15 split at the recent Scottish Cross Country Relay Championships in Cumbernauld, won in 6.16 from Hugh Morrow of Edinburgh AC and Alastair Marshall of Livingston AC.
Ben and his team mates Peter Scott (9th) and Owen Keddie (49th) also picked up team bronze.
Annabel Simpson finished an excellent fifth in a highly competitive senior and junior women’s race while strong runs from Halina Rees (15th), Jen Spence (40th) and Jen Cruickshanks (42th) earned the women team bronze behind a dominant Edinburgh University team and Victoria Park City of Glasgow.
There were also brilliant medal winning runs from vets Rhona Van Rensburg and Innes Bracegirdle, with Rhona claiming the silver medal in the V40 age category behind Megan Wright of the Edinburgh-based Hunters Bog Trotters and Innes claiming the bronze medal in the V60 age category.
In the senior and junior men’s race, Logan Rees placed 6th in 12.16 less than a week after running a significant 10k personal best at the Leeds Abbey Dash.
There were also good runs from Owen Miller in 56th, Sam Fernando in 73rd and Derek Rae in 75th.