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With Highland League football suspended due to Covid-19, Buckie Thistle player Sam Urquhart decided to keep fit by running a marathon around his Inverness home

By Craig Christie

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RUNNING a marathon is Buckie Thistle star Sam Urquhart’s way of keeping fit while Highland League football is suspended.

Buckie Thistle's Sam Urquhart on the ball. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Buckie Thistle's Sam Urquhart on the ball. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

The 29-year-old had always harboured an ambition to complete a 26-mile effort since he took up road running during the last sporting lockdown in 2020.

So when the Scottish FA halted play in all lower leagues last Monday due to the pandemic, Urquhart saw it as an opportunity to take on his endurance challenge.

“As football was called off for three weeks I thought it would be the ideal time to give it a go,” he said.

Last Tuesday morning he pulled on his running shoes, mapped out a route around his Inverness base and battled wintry weather and extreme pain to complete all 42 stamina-sapping kilometres.

First and last 🤮

Posted by Sam Urquhart on Tuesday, 12 January 2021
Sam Urquhart's Strava post.
Sam Urquhart's Strava post.

He then posted the run on his Strava GPS tracking app, saying it was his first and last marathon due to the pain he endured - but already he has had a change of heart.

“I thought at the time I wouldn’t do that again, but now I have recovered I’m definitely going to do it again when I get a chance. Maybe even further.

“It wasn’t the ideal conditions, but I went for it anyway on mainly snow and ice.

“I felt fine physically until about 30km then I was struggling but just kept battling through to get it finished, not really caring about how long it took.

“I was happy when I got to the right amount of kilometres and yes, I felt a sense of achievement.”

Urquhart is a fitness fanatic who is frustrated by the closure of gyms once again, but plans to keep in shape over the rest of January with the help of one of his Jags’ team-mates.

For while Buckie training, as well as matches, have been put on hold during the lockdown, the squad have been given a fitness programme to follow each week by defender Hamish Munro.

Urquhart is on the road to recovery from two knee operations and says his fitness is at the best level it has been post-surgery.

He is eager to play more games for match fitness, and was not in favour of the season being suspended.

“I felt very safe when we were playing football and had no reservations,” said Urquhart.

“I think it’s pointless stopping it, although I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me.

Urquhart has returned from two knee operations to star for Buckie. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Urquhart has returned from two knee operations to star for Buckie. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

“The knee is the best it has been since before I hurt it but won’t ever be the same, I don’t think. I just have to keep working at it and hopefully repay the club for the way they looked after me through my injury by performing on the park as best I can for the team. “

As an Inverness boy, he is relishing the Scottish Cup tie against Caley Thistle, which was postponed just before the shutdown.

“I’m looking forward to playing Caley Thistle. It’s always good fun testing yourself against opposition from a higher division,” said Urquhart.

“They have some good quality, but we will just enjoy it and work hard as a team to try give them as tough a game as possible.”

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