Atheltics: Scots duo looking to break four-minute mile

The Olympics may be over but for some the competitive flame is still strong and three Scottish middle distance runners head for Belgium this weekend to compete in the latest round of the Flanders Cup in Leuvan.

Double Scottish 800 and 1500 metres champion Mark Mitchell and former 1500m champion Ali Hay are entered in the one mile where, depending on the weather, they both have realistic chances of going under four minutes.

Scotland’s top 800m runner this season, Guy Learmonth (Lasswade), who won the Scottish 400m title at Scotstoun in June, has both reasonable prize money and a competitive field for the two laps including one of his leading English rivals Ed Aston, who is just above him in the rankings.

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Learmonth, whose best is 1:47.14, would dearly love to dip below 1:47.00 this season.

Not surprisingly given the frantic season she has just had and her impending wedding next month, Capital distance star Freya Murray (EAC) has abandoned plans to compete in the Chicago Marathon in October.

She has already run two marathons in this her debut season and another so soon after the London Olympics, in which she was 44th and first Briton, would have been unwise.

Murray was about to fly to Boulder, Colorado for another high altitude training spell with her coach Steve Jones when she received the call from the British selectors earlier this month to say she was in the team for the Olympics, replacing the injured Paula Radcliffe.

Now she will head for the US in January with financial assistance from Scottish Athletics.

Murray had a lovely surprise when she returned to work earlier this week to be greeted by champagne, flowers and a booklet of newspaper cuttings.

“I’m not sure of my plans yet but I’ll probably run some cross country then do a spring marathon,” said Murray, who will want to achieve the qualifying standard for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games as soon as possible to take the pressure off.

Qualification for the marathon in Glasgow opens on January 1 so April’s Virgin London Marathon would be the ideal opportunity to post a good time.

Not that Murray should have any problems whatsoever achieving the time as it is set at a modest 2:40.00 compared to her best of 2:28.10 set in this year’s Virgin London event.