Scotland call is a 'nice surprise' for Russell
ANDER Russell has spoken of his delight after being selected to represent the Scotland senior team for the first time.
The 24-year-old Stroud and District AC runner has been named in a three-strong team to represent his country in the Plymouth 10K road race on Sunday.
"It is the first time I have been asked to run for the Scotland seniors and it was very unexpected and a very nice surprise," said Russell.
"I knew there was a 10K in Plymouth this weekend but I didn't know Scotland were sending a team down to it, so I was very happy when I got the call and I am really looking forward to it."
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Russell's selection tops a tremendous year for the runner.
On the track he improved his personal bests at both 3000m and 5000m – lifting him to 28th in the UK rankings for the latter – and then continued that form into the autumn.
"I think my run in the Stroud Half Marathon probably tipped it in my favour," added Russell, who set a PB of 69 minutes, 44 seconds to finish runner-up.
Russell had originally pledged to turn out for Stroud AC in the English Cross Country Relays this weekend, but club coaches Chris Frapwell and his dad Gordon Russell quickly told him to forget that and concentrate on his first senior Scottish vest.
"The last time I represented Scotland it was at Under-23 level in the Edinburgh Invitational Cross-Country in January 2008," explained Russell.
"It has been a long wait but everything seems to be falling into place this year and it is brilliant.
"I just have to make sure I carry that on now, stay fit and healthy and hopefully go even better over the winter."
As for Sunday, Russell will be looking to feature prominently at the sharp end of the race and on current form should smash his PB of 32 minutes, 47 seconds in the low-key Cherington 10K last year.
"I would be happy to run low 31 minutes and do well in the race," added Russell.