It has been 10 years since Isaiah Kosgei competed in a race at any level, but the 42-year-old Kenyan has his sights set on making a winning comeback at the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon. Kosgei is excited about making his first trip to Scotland on 24 September.
The former world half marathon champion is well aware he is unlikely to get close to his best time of 2:12:48, he is confident of challenging the course record of 2:20:13 set by his compatriot Simon Tonui in 2009.
The veteran Kenyan athlete is travelling to the Highlands thanks to the efforts of two Aberdeen-based former Scottish champions, Myles Edwards, winner of the Scottish 1500m track title two years ago, and Peter Wilson, the 1983 national marathon gold medal winner.
Edwards is co-founder of the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, a charity that helps disadvantaged children in Kenya, and he met Kosgei on one of his frequent visits to East Africa.
He said: “Kosgei is an amazing character. He was a top class competitor until about 10 years ago and he raced successfully all over Europe.
“Towards the end of his professional running career he decided to go back to secondary school in Kenya to complete the education he had missed when he was younger.
“It was a brave thing to do and to begin with it was a bit of a challenge as the other kids laughed at him. But he soon won them over, gained their respect and helped motivate them to complete their studies.
“He’s a smart guy and with the money he made from his running career, he built his own school, the King David Academy, and set himself up as a massage therapist. I go to him for treatment regularly when I am in Kenya and he has looked after many of the British runners who visit the area, including some from Aberdeen.
“After finishing his school education he was keen to get back into running and he has been training hard so we began to speak about getting into some races.”