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Young Aberdeenshire runner takes second place in worldwide virtual 5K run


By Rachael Glennie

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Lockdown has been a very interesting and successful time for 11 year old cross country runner Rhian Birnie.

Cross country runner Rhian takes part in Virtual 5K
Cross country runner Rhian takes part in Virtual 5K

Rhian runs for YoungMeldrun Runners and at the end of April, she took part in a virtual 5K race along with runners from all over the world.

435 runners from 21 countries across six continents took part in the Gathimba Edwards Foundation Globe Run raising more than £5000 for the foundation.

Although the majority of participants were based in the north-east, others ran in places including Australia, Brazil, Doha, Dubai, France, Kenya and Singapore.

Each runner ran 5K close to their homes and then submitted the evidence of their run electronically via a running app.

Completing her run in a fast time of 20.11 minutes, Rhian finished second behind the current World Champion Hellen Obiri.

Following her achievement, Rhian ran another 5K last Friday, May 8, achieving a new personal best of 19.06 minutes, an astonishing time for an 11 year old with her effort seeing her smash the 20 minute barrier for for the first time.

Commenting on her lockdown achievements, Sports Coach, Mark Wylie said:“Rhian is continuing to train hard on her own during this lockdown and we hope she will come out of it stronger and faster than before.

"She’s only 11 so we are being careful not to push her too much too soon but her times are very impressive.

"She has plenty guts and determination and if she continues to progress she could really make something of her amazing talent.

"I arranged for Rhian to meet up with top GB runner Laura Muir earlier this year which will further inspire her to train hard.

"We just have to wait to see when normal road and cross country races can resume again, but in the meantime she is doing a few virtual races.”

Rhian continues to train hard several times a week in the hope she can soon race against the best in the north of Scotland again soon when restrictions are finally lifted.


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