Kirkcaldy’s Steph Pennycook took time out from helping the fight against the coronavirus in a Leeds hospital to clock the best distance in the women’s division of the latest Virtual Challenge organised by Scottish Athletics.
The Scotland international qualified in medicine at Edinburgh University last summer and admitted the past few weeks in her first post in Yorkshire have been “pretty challenging” treating Covid-19 patients.
Running has been a release for Pennycook and she came up with a distance of 4.56k in the 15-Minute Virtual Challenge set up by governing body Scottish Athletics to help athletes maintain fitness and focus via solo runs, while observing social distancing guidelines.
In total, more than 1,100 athletes took part with the field including GB international and Glasgow 2014 4x400m relay runner, Grant Plenderleith, and Jayne Nisbet – who competed in the high jump at Hampden in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Pennycook for her part has represented Scotland in recent years in road, cross country and track but work commitments have restricted her racing since moving to Leeds.
“I am working and living in Leeds at the moment after moving south in July 219 when I’d graduated,” said the Fife AC athlete.
“I work at St James’ University Hospital and I am a year one doctor currently on elderly medicine. I have been working on coronavirus wards since the start of the pandemic.
“It has been OK and I think Leeds was maybe a couple of weeks behind London in terms of peak cases – so the hospital was able to prepare well with managing discharges to make more beds available. So, at least at the beginning, it was maybe less busy than I had anticipated.
“But it has still been a pretty challenging month since then and I’ve been very grateful that I’ve been able to get out and run. I have actually been training well although of course everything is on your own.
“I’ve enjoyed running trails around Leeds and the Scottish Athletics Virtual Challenge was another good way to have a little focus and something to aim at for the past fortnight.”
Pennycook had previously recorded the quickest 5k leg in the Scottish Athletics Virtual Relays with a solo run of 16.33.
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