Saturday 28th December will see the eagerly anticipated return of the Tilli 10k. After the huge success of 2018, this fast out and back 10k returns bigger and better than before.

Starting in Tillicoultry, the route will follow the Devon Way for 4.5km. It will then loop back on itself in Dollar, rejoin the Devon Way and head homeward to finish back in Tillicoultry.

This Scottish Athletics permitted race is once again a sellout, attracting 500 runners, who will toe the line at 10:15am on Saturday morning, hoping to round off the year in style with personal bests on this accurately measured fast and flat course.

With the weather looking favourable and some big names in the field, the Tilli 10k looks set to be a hit once again. Looking through the field there are some notable names to look out for.

The men’s senior race will see Scottish 10k champion Grant Sheldon of Cambuslang take on the recently crowned East District Cross Country Champion, Jamie Crowe of Central AC, and his club mate Alastair Hay. This looks set to be a great battle between the Cambuslang runner, Sheldon and many of the Central AC’s famous “Yellow Train”.

Sheldon is the fastest on record with his phenomenal 29:27 at Stirling this year seeing him pick up a National gold medal and new PB, improving significantly on his silver medal from the same race in 2018. Crowe recently retained his East District Championship title in style and with a 10k time of 29:34 this year, he, along with Sheldon, will most certainly be targeting the course record and associated cash prize. Hay himself has huge pedigree having ran for Scotland at all running disciplines with the Delhi Commonwealth Games most certainly one of his highlights. The fast course that the Tilli 10k provides will give him an opportunity to have a crack at the special 30 minute barrier.

On paper it is expected that, fellow Central AC runners, Cameron Milne, who is currently part of the Scottish Marathon Project, and Michael Wright, twice the Scottish Marathon Champion, will be in the mix.

The next biggest challenger to the potential Central AC domination could be from one half of the Tartan Running Show podcast, Metro Aberdeen’s Kyle Greig. This Scottish and GB international has become a star on the Ultra Running scene over the past few years and has a mightily impressive 10k PB of 30:46.

Other names to look out for include the 2015 Scottish 1500m champion Myles Edwards who has a 10k PB of 31:52 and Tom Graham-Marr, the Central youngster who finished 3rd U20 at East District XC Championships at Piperdam this month. There is also Cambuslang Harriers’ Colin Reilly who has a PB of 32:06 to his name and Rory Scott of Fife AC is another sub 33 man. Carnethy Hill Running Clubs’ John Hammond and Tom Brian of TRS podcast and Metro Aberdeen may well also be looking to break the 33 minute barrier.

Already surpassing this barrier this year is the ever improving Alistair Gudgin of Fife AC who will be returning again, along with Chris Poxton and James Callender, who all finished high up in the field at the inaugural Tilli 10k. It is expected that all, especially the 2019 Perth 10k champion Gudgin, will be looking to place highly once again.

In the Women’s race there is set to be a showdown between two of the best runners on the Scottish Athletics club racing circuit. Both are Scottish internationals, both are part of the Scottish Marathon project and both have set fantastic 10k PBs this year.

The race between Annabel Simpson of Fife AC and Metro Aberdeen’s Fiona Brian is set to be a thriller. Simpson will be looking to repeat her performance from Leeds Abbey Dash, which saw her run 33:30 on a course which turned out to be 23 meters short. Fiona Brian will want to continue her superb form which saw her set a new PB of 34:21 this year and even as recently as a fortnight ago win the Lossiemouth 10 mile race in style. The running CVs of these two include East District Cross Country champion and former Scottish 5k Champion for Simpson and the huge accolade of being the winner of the Great Aberdeen Half Marathon this year for Fiona Brian.

Chasing the two favourites down will be Metro Aberdeen pair of Claire Bruce, another Scottish Marathon Project runner, and Nicola Gauld, respective winners of the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen 10K and Metro Aberdeen Beach 10K this year. Another winner who will be mixing it at the sharp end is Lothian Running Club’s Jo Williams, who has three 10k victories to her name this year alone.

A few other names to watch out for, who will all be targeting the sub 38 minute mark, include the 2018 winner Fiona Matheson who returns looking to defend her crown. Matheson is the fastest V50 and V55 in the UK of All Time and will be looking to improve on her Tilli 10k PB from last year.

Additional challenge is expected from GB Orienteering International Kirstin Maxwell, 2019 Cumbernauld 10k winner and PH racer Kristin Lownie and Fife AC’s Jennifer Cruickshank.

Karen Kennedy is a multiple Scottish champion and is the winner of the Hamilton HamilTEN 10K this year, expect Kennedy to definitely be in this mix of quality runners and a firm favourite for an age category prize.

Other age category contenders include Dundee Road Runners’ Alison McNeilly who will contend to the V40 Prize and PH’s own Julie Menzies who recently showed her class at the National Short Course XC Championships where she finished 5th V45 overall.

Central AC’s Grace Tindall, is favourite for the Junior U17 prize as the 800m specialist looks set to run over the longer road race distance for the first time.

The male Junior U17 looks to be one of the most contended prizes on the day. With nothing but seconds to throw over the personal bests of PH’s up and coming stars Andrew Thomson (35:42) and Jamie Lessels (35:53) as well as Lothian RC’s Ryan Kirkland. Kirkland has the fastest time of the three having ran 35:29 this year. Another notable name who could upset the three early favourites is the younger Cameron Kerr of Central AC, who has a fast 5k time of 17:44 to his name and will certainly be looking to get amongst the prizes.

The Men’s V40 and V45 categories look to be just as tight and will be racing right alongside the youngsters. The favourites in the V45 category are Gordon Barrie of Dundee Hawkhill Harriers and PH’s own Graeme Doig. Better known for his speed over the shorter stuff, Barrie’s 10k PB of 34:31 puts him in pole position for a prize with marathon specialist Doig likely to be hot on his heals. Other names to watch out for, all running sub 36 minutes this year, include Metro’s Dino Roussias, Lothian’s Alan Knowles and Motherwell AC’s internet blogger Mark Gallacher. John Speirs and John Brogan of Kimarnock and Airdrie Harriers respectively are both sub 36 runners this year as well, showing just how strong the depth is at the Tilli 10k.

Scott Martin of Kilmarnock Harriers is a V50 and has an impressive time of 34:48, he is clear favourite for that prize. However, the V55 and V60 prizes do not look clear cut at all and some tight racing is expected. Grant Matheson returns as a defending age category champ and will battle it out with Brian Lees of Lothian RC and PH’s Martin McNellis for the V55 honours. Another PH member and multiple Scottish National medalist, John Crookston (37:58) will have a race on with Bryce Aitken of Fife AC for the V60 title, with only 4 seconds between the their 10k bests this season.

With a field of 500 there are bound to be a few surprises in the results so keep your eyes peeled for the full results as they are announced after the race. The number of winners of big races this year littering the Tilli 10k field is mightily impressive and certainly has set the benchmark for a quality 10k field.

PH Racing Club would like to thank Andrew Wright the Race Director for all his hard work to get this race set up; all those who plan to volunteer on the day; and the various business, councils and Scottish Athletics who have contributed so far.

Thanks also go to our race sponsors: Louie Brown’s Bar, Williams Bros, Active Root, William Sword Bakery, The Scottish Soup Company and Gemma Hertwig from Precious Time Therapies.

Thanks to the various photographs, including Bobby Gavin and Gordon Donnachie.

Watch out for the race report where the full details of the outcome of the race will be announced and all sponsors and volunteers shall be thanked again.

*Times and information taken to be the best of knowledge from runbritainrankings & Powerof10. Unfortunately not all runners 500 names could get a mention in the preview and sorry to anyone missed who thinks they should have a mention.