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Moray Road Runners athlete Kenny Wilson is benefitting from Scottish Athletics' marathon project after a strong run in Cheshire and the London Marathon is next - but making the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham is a "tough ask" for the Speyside-based runner

By Craig Christie

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THE Commonwealth Games will be a “tough ask” for Kenny Wilson, but a first sub 2:20 marathon is a big stride in the right direction.

Kenny Wilson is progressing well over the 26-mile distance. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Kenny Wilson is progressing well over the 26-mile distance. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

The 31-year-old Moray Road Runner took part in his first marathon in 18 months – and only second ever – near the Welsh border on Sunday.

He surpassed his own expectations by finishing fifth in the Cheshire Elite Marathon in a time of
2 hours 18 minutes and 54 seconds, shaving nearly four minutes off his debut marathon time in Frankfurt in 2019.

Wilson was ready to run the same race last October, and was in peak condition when it was cancelled just two weeks before the start, due to concerns over Covid regulations.

Read more: Kenny Wilson PBs in Cheshire for fifth place

“I didn’t think I was in better shape for this one. I was actually quite nervous going into it because I thought I had peaked last year and didn’t think I had quite hit that form yet,” he said.

“With the weather and lockdown restrictions, it didn’t feel like the training had got going until quite close to the marathon. But me not feeling that good training-wise a few weeks out maybe just meant that I had peaked on the right day and the timing was right.”

Next up for Wilson over 26 miles is his first London Marathon on October 3.

Kenny Wilson has done the Moray Road Runners' vest proud. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Kenny Wilson has done the Moray Road Runners' vest proud. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

The Craigellachie-based athlete is part of a Scottish Athletics marathon running project led by coach Robert Hawkins, whose two sons Callum and Derek are the country’s best two runners.

The project aims to send three male and three female marathon runners to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games next year. Wilson had been hopeful of running himself into contention for the third men’s place behind the Hawkin brothers, who will also run for Team GB at this year’s Olympics.

Initially he believed that a time around 2:17 might put him in the reckoning, but a selection time of 2:15.12 has now been set, meaning Wilson would have to take his times down even more.

"The two Hawkins brothers have done it, and Robbie Simpson has done it in the past, but there’s a few other guys who have been brought into the project from a 10k, 10-mile distance who are really quick and will do well at marathon.

“There’s an even bigger group in the pack trying to get down to that time, so the job is even harder. I know 2:18 is a good time to have in the bag, and if we can really get London right, hopefully we can close in on that target time for everyone.

“When you are setting goals, you have to set something out there and see how close you can get to it. But it’s definitely a tough ask.”

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