Readers claimed our previous list of ten great moments was tainted by controversy. Well, there is little more controversial in the world of New Zealand distance running than the continuing domination of the sport by New Zealand’s top club. So today, we expose the ten most suspicious performances by Scottish athletes in 2019:

  1. Hamish Carson ran down NBO in a lap record to take Scottish to a record-equalling fifth senior men’s road relay victory in a row. Seamus’s phone updates were so constant that many suspect Hamish was in the van beside Seamus.
  2. In a scene reminiscent of the 1993 race when five Chinese runners all swarmed under the previous 3000m world record, a hoard of Scottish runners known as Ma(rk)’s Army – Mark Moore, Bert Prendergast, Kristian Day, Simon Keller, Ben Cornelius, Mel Stevens, Ben Twyman, Anna Breen, Niam Macdonald, Andrew Kerr and Iain Shaw – all ran the Christchurch Marathon or associated events and bested their PBs in low visibility and on a course that officials later alleged was short. 
  3. Fiona Hayvice ran an astonishing 210.134km representing New Zealand at the IAU 24 Hour World Championships in France. On a standard running track that would be 525 laps. Officials did not allege this course was short because, well, were they even awake the whole 24 hours?
  4. Mel Stevens went undefeated across all Wellington interclub races despite a historically strong year for masters women running in Wellington. Were her team-mates bankrolled to take a dive?
  5. In a rare sextuple Peter Tearle claimed six golds at the NZ Masters Track and Field Championships. (All the medals were for throws – and, well, throwers)
  6. The Barwicks briefly returned to England and jointly massacred the London Marathon to such an extent that the man and woman who actually won the race, Kipchoge and Kosgei, felt so overlooked that they had to achieve something more impressive later in the year. 
  7. Hiro Tanimoto won the Wellington Marathon then gifted the trip to Japan that he won to second placegetter Mark Moore. What motivated that gift?
  8. Underdog Holly Barclay broke the TAB after jumping eight places up the table in the very last race of the season to win the Scottish senior women’s champion title. 
  9. Mel Aitken came third at the World Xterra Championships in Hawaii after winning every Wellington Xterra race and one in New Caledonia for good measure. The result itself is not suspicious but there are reports that Mel was running at least two other races at the same time in different parts of the world. 
  10. Kath Littler won the Shirley Ballantyne 10 Mile Trophy the very first time she had ever run ten miles. Or was it the first time? As a side note, Bill Wang won the Ballantyne Cup in the same race wearing a pair of ‘magic’ shoes that he may well have mugged off Kipchoge.
  11. James Preston 1:47.04 for 800m. 10th fastest New Zealander all-time. Not dodgy. Just, as acknowledged on Facebook chat this week, extremely fast.