Taha Ghafari

Ghafari Goes For It at Dumbarton 10K

Iranian Kurdish refugee wins Babcock Dumbarton 10K in fine style...

Taha Ghafari of Shettleston Harriers, an Iranian Kurdish refugee who recently relocated from London to Glasgow, scorched the roads and cycle paths of Dumbarton to record the second fastest ever time for the Babcock Dumbarton 10K (25 May), finishing in 29:54 to come within 14 seconds of Tewolde Mengisteab’s course record, which dates back to 2009.

Ghafari represented the international refugee team in both the World Cross-Country in Australia and the European Cross-Country in Italy. He certainly has an impressive pedigree which allowed him to put 68 seconds between himself and his closest pursuer Ryan Thomson of Cambuslang, who was second, and Gregor Yates of Inverclyde in third.

Shettleston Club Secretary, John Mackay, has developed something of a reputation for recruiting and supporting an array of international talent and as a result the club boasts more than 20 nationalities. This began after the 2008 World Cross-Country Championships in Edinburgh when several of the Eritrean team sought political asylum in the UK and joined the club. Most notable of the former Eritrean club members has been Tsegay Tewelde, who represented Britain in the 2016 Olympic Marathon in Rio. More recently, Weynay Ghebresilasie finished first Briton in last year’s London Marathon, Weynay holds the Babcock 10K Series record at 29:32.

Nynke Mulholland of Inverclyde comfortably won the women’s race in 35:47, 65 seconds ahead of ‘super vet’, Lesley Bell who, as an over-40, claimed second place by 13 seconds from Rebekah Russell of Bellahouston Road Runners. Sophie Canty from Dumbarton claimed the Series title, with 5th, after winning the Babcock Helensburgh 10K on 4 May.

The ultra-consistent Fred Davies of Shettleston won the men’s Series title in sixth. Shettleston Harriers predictably won the men’s team race, with first, Mark McKelvie fifth and sixth from Bellahouston Road Runners and Greenock Glenpark.

Lesley Bell led Garscube to the women’s team title from Shettleston Harriers and hometown favourites, Dumbarton Athletics Club. The event also included the Dunbartonshire AAA Championships, which were won by Garscube’s Colin Whitby in 33.08 and Sophie Canty in 39:25. Alan Blair and Fiona Balfour swept the board in all three races to claim the Team Clyde men’s and women’s titles.

The Dumbarton race concludes this year’s Babcock 10K Series with almost 2000 runners taking part across the three events. Babcock’s sponsorship continues next year and into 2025. Watch this space for details of the 2024 series...

For more details visit the Babcock 10K Series website.

Image: Daren Borzynski

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