CENTRAL AC runner Aidan Thompson got his track season off to a fine start by posting a new personal best over 5,000 metres.

The 24-year-old is competing in the United States after returning to Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, in January.

The Dunfermline man had to cut short his track and field scholarship initially in 2020 because of Covid-19.

Aidan is studying for a degree in strategic communication and leadership in addition to his athletics commitments, which he is hoping will include the British Athletics Championships – the Olympic trials – in June.

After racing in three cross-country events upon his return to the US, the first of which, the Belmont opener, ended in victory, he returned to track competition last weekend at the Joe Walker Invitational Meet.

Hosted by the University of Mississippi, a total of 523 athletes from 26 universities took part over the two-day event, and Aidan enjoyed a fine result in the men's 5,000m.

Running in heat two, the West Fifer powered to victory impressively in a time of 14:11.70, more than two seconds clear of Notre Dame's Carter Cheeseman (14:13.76) and South Dakota State's Ben Olson (14:13.97).

Not only was his time the seventh-quickest out of 61 competitors, 15 of whom did not finish, but it was also a new best over the distance.

Last month, after he returned to the States, Aidan spoke of his delight at resuming some "unfinished business" and having teammates around to work with.

He said: "I always knew this was a great opportunity and I always spoke very highly of Nashville, my coach, my team-mates but I think going home, and then having the tier systems put in place, kinda stopped me really being able to train with Central AC as well.

"It meant I was doing everything solo in Dunfermline. A lot of people don't really see running as a team sport; they're like, you're running against the clock, or you're running against other runners and you're trying to be the first man over the line.

"I think lockdown probably showed me that's not the case at all; you really rely on your team-mates to keep you accountable, motivated and it just makes the training so much easier.

"A lot of our running is just going out and getting it done – it's not glamorous but it needs to happen.

"When you have great team-mates that you meet up with every day to do that, or the stuff in the weight room, it means a lot to have the right people around you and the right support base."