After promising to build on his victory at the 2016 Baxters Loch Ness Marathon by lowering the course record in this year’s event, Mohammad Abu-Rezeq will get his chance to live up to his promise on Sunday (24 September). The Jordanian runner will line up alongside thousands of other enthusiastic competitors in the 16th edition of the Highland race.
Abu-Rezeq was only 39 seconds adrift of Kenyan athlete Simon Tonui’s 2009 record when winning in 2:20:52 last September on his debut at the distance. He claimed that had it not been for a slight injury picked up on a training run prior to the race he would have bettered Tonui’s time.
He said: “I hoped to run faster, but I hurt my leg which was a problem for me. It was painful after about 10 miles and slowed me down. I went through halfway in about 68 minutes, so I know if it hadn’t been for the injury I would have easily broken the record. I know I can go much faster.”
Abu-Rezeq hasn’t run another marathon since then but has been showing good form over shorter distances during the year with victories in the We Love Manchester 10K and in half marathons at Leeds Chester and Wilmslow.
The 33-year-old faces a potentially strong challenge, however, from veteran Kenyan athlete Isaiah Kosgei who has set his sights on making a winning comeback after a decade’s absence from top level competition.
Central AC’s Jenn Wetton will not defend the women’s title for a very good reason. She said: “I am 18 weeks pregnant so decided a marathon might be a bit much. I had hoped to come up for the 10K but my parents are retiring at the weekend so we are having a family get-together.”
Stirling marathon champion Lesley Pirie (Victoria Park Glasgow), who has a best time of 2:41:04 set at the 2016 London Marathon is now fancied to take victory and could test the women’s record of 2:44:50 set by Fife’s Megan Crawford in 2015
The River Ness 10K has attracted a top class field headed up by Dundee Hawkhill Harriers’ Kristian Jones and Scotland-based Hungarian international Fanni Gyurkó (Central AC) who returns to defend her title in the women’s race.