Skipper Mark Dry led by example with victory in the hammer at the Loughborough International on a good day for a number of Scots at the Paula Radcliffe Stadium.
The Gold Coast 2018 bronze medallist was given the captaincy honour on the eve of the 60th edition of the traditional early-season match, which features six teams. Dry duly delivered the win in the opening event of the day and that was followed by other victories from Kirsty Law, Beth Dobbin, Grant Plenderleith and Kirsten McAslan.
Loughborough-based Dobbin’s personal best of 23.14 in the 200 metres was the fifth fastest run of all time by a Scottish woman and a testament to the determination of the 23-year-old who missed the Gold Coast 2018 qualifying time by one hundredth of a second last summer.
Dry, who is planning to have surgery on a hip problem, threw 72.35m in his fifth round to win the competition from Loughborough Uni’s Taylor Campbell, a GB U23 international, by just 4cm.
“I really wanted to get the win as Scotland captain and lead by example for the team,” said Dry. “It was a tough comp and I wasn’t throwing too well initially. The hip hurt and I am sore now but I came up with a 72.35m and that was enough with Taylor Campbell, throwing for Loughborough, at 72.31m. I will see how it feels later next week with a GB appearance coming up in Germany.
“In terms of today, I’m so proud to be captain. I’ve been on teams here before and people like Eilidh Doyle have been the captain. And other years I was selected for Loughborough rather than for Scotland.
“I told the other athletes on Saturday night to take real pride in the vest. It is an individual sport, yes, but I think there’s a real team spirit with Scotland at the moment and I think it means more to us than to other teams.
“I and others won’t be around forever in the sport so it is up to the younger ones – and there were a number of athletes here competing at Loughborough for Scotland for the first time – to carry the baton. We have a lot of talent around at the moment but, of course, it is small talent pool in Scotland in population terms.”
Plenderleith, pictured, pulled off a superb win in the men’s 400m as he stormed home in a PB of 46.65 in a race that featured the likes of fellow GB international Lee Thompson. “I wanted to run under 47 seconds here today with the conditions good but to get a PB and win the race wearing the Scotland vest is just a brilliant feeling,” said Plenderleith.
“It’s my first win in six visits to Loughborough and I just kept working hard and tried to keep my form over the last few strides.
“I wasn’t too aware of what else was happening and ran my own race. I’m trying to get in the mix for the European Championship selections this summer and we will see what happens.”
McAslan took the victory in the women’s 400m hurdles as she recorded 59.01 to win from England’s Georgina Rogers with Mhairi Patience seventh in 60.39.
“It was a bit of a scrappy race but it was nice to win it and I’ve not yet raced the 400m hurdles event all that often – I just fancied a change so we will see how I get on,” said McAslan.
Discus thrower Law was an individual event winner as well, claiming the victory with her first effort of 54.14m.
“I surprised myself there with a decent throw in the opening round,” said Law. “I will take that for this stage in the year.”
Dobbin’s excitement at a 200m victory in a new PB of 23.14 was clear for all to see in the Paula Radcliffe Stadium – as she smashed her previous best of 23.31 and the opposition. “I’m so excited by that because I want to get under 23 seconds this season and now I believe that is achievable,” said Dobbin.
There was also a Guest race 200m win for Chloe Lambert, who had raced for Scotland in the 4x100m. Lambert won in 24.69.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Olympic and world 10,000m champion Mo Farah claimed his first victory in the 10km Great Manchester Run.
Farah, who finished third at the London Marathon last month, kicked past Moses Kipsiro of Uganda with 100m to go to secure the win in 28:27. Kenya’s Abel Kirui was third.
Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba won her third consecutive women’s race ahead of Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei.