ETHIOPIAN former ice hockey pro Yared Hagos hopes to set a new record at this week’s Jedburgh Half Marathon.
The 29-year-old former Dallas Stars and Swedish AIK Hockey player turned his back on the ice to pursue an athletics career in 2010.
Despite finishing his first marathon down in two hours 40 minutes, he’s quickly improved to become one of his country’s best over 10km and half-marathons.
So far this year he has won the Sunderland and Gateshead 10km races, as well as the recent Inverness half marathon, and finished 12th at this year’s Great North Run.
And he can boast personal best times of 29.56 minutes for the six miles, and an impressive 63 minutes for the half marathon.
On Sunday, Hagos will lead a half-marathon field of more than 650 runners in a bid to break Tseqezeab Woldemichael’s course record of 67.17, which has stood for the past four years.
Race promoter John Henderson said: “We are delighted to have attracted an athlete of Yared’s quality. We have several runners with personal bests well inside 70 minutes, so he won’t have it all his own way.”
More than 400 athletes will compete over the 10km course, with last year’s winner Ross Matheson expected to defend his crown.
Sunday will be the Starret Jedburgh Running Festival’s 10th birthday and it is expected to attract a record number of athletes.
Len Wyse from the organising committee said: “Online entries closed on Wednesday with close to record numbers for both the 10km and half marathon, and we will have provision for entries on the day.
“We are indebted once again to our main sponsor, Starret, and all of the volunteers who continue to help make Jedburgh Running Festival such a success.”
To celebrate the festival’s 10th year, organisers have introduced the 38-miles Three Peaks ultra marathon.
More than 100 endurance athletes, including TheSouthern’s Kenny Paterson, will leave Jedburgh early in the morning before facing a tough course which passes through Maxton, St Boswells, Bowden and Newtown, as well as going over all three Eildons.
Three Peaks organiser David Knox told us: “This is one of the hardest races to have been staged in the Borders and it has attracted runners from all over Britain as well as a couple from mainland Europe. For most, just finishing will be a great achievement – I hope people come out to support them.
“We are extremely grateful to Bookers Cash and Carry for supplying the water for our race and also to Guy Learmonth, the Scottish 400m champion from Berwick, for presenting the trophies.”
The Three Peaks leaders are expected to reach the Eildons at around 10.30am.
This year’s wheelchair and hand-cycle races have been given a Borders boost with the inclusion of Scottish 200m and 400m record holder Sammi Kinghorn. The 16-year-old from Gordon is regarded as one of the sport’s bright young talents – but she faces tough opposition for the Scottish title.
Sunday’s action begins with the Three Peaks Ultra leaving town at 8am from beneath the Abbey. The wheelchair and hand-cycle races go off from Bonjedward at 10.30am, and both the 10k and half-marathon come under starter’s orders at 11am.