Manchester-based Mohammad Abu-Rezeq produced a stunning debut at the distance to dominate yesterday's Baxters Loch Ness Marathon. The Jordanian (pictured) established a significant lead at an early stage and as the contest progressed he stretched ever further ahead to finish in 2:20:52.
Abu-Rezeq was delighted to have won but said he was capable of running much faster: “It’s a nice course. I enjoyed it. It’s my first marathon and I hoped to run faster, but I fell while training two days ago and hurt my leg. 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 course record (set by Kenya’s Simon Tonui in 2009). I would like to come back here because it is a fantastic course and I know I can go much faster.”
Patryk Gierjatowicz (Hunters Bog Trotters) and Kyle Greig (Forres Harriers) were involved in a battle for the minor placings. And it was the Edinburgh-based Pole, Gierjatowicz, who prevailed, taking second position in 2:25:28 with Greig settling for third in 2:26:22. Mark Webster, in 16th position, won the over-40’s prize when recording 2:51:51 while Antoni Kot took the over-50’s award in 2:59:06 and Terence Coyle was first over-60 in 3:06.25.
Jen Wetton won the women’s title for the second time in three years when recording 2:47:03 to finish 10th overall. Victoria Hunter finished second in 2:59:37 with hill running specialist Jill Mykura taking third spot and first over-40 in 3:07:05. Erica Christie (Cambuslang Harriers), one of five runners to have competed in all 15 editions of the marathon, successfully defended the over-50 women’s age group title when finishing eighth in 3:16:35. Sarah Houston (Moray Road Runners) won the over-60's title in 3:36:22.
Invernessian Paul Smith, who finished 29th in 2:56:14 won the HSPC Gerald Cooper Memorial Trophy which is presented to the first Highland runner.
Edinburgh AC's Neil Renault successfully defended his title in the Baxters River Ness 10K when sprinting home in 30:37, 16 seconds ahead of Conan Mccaughey (Central AC) with John Newsom (Inverness Harriers) close behind in third position.
Renault was delighted with the result, saying: “I’m satisfied because I didn’t really ease back my training too much. I’m looking for a good run in the Glasgow half marathon next week and hopefully this will set me up for it. I enjoy coming up to Inverness to race and hopefully I can come back next March for the half marathon.”
Scotland-based Hungarian international Fanni Gyurko won the women’s race with an impressive performance which saw her stop the clock at 35:03. She said: “I wanted to run under 35 minutes but it was very windy so I am happy with the time. I took the lead from the beginning and just ran as fast as I could. It’s a nice course and I enjoyed it.”
There was a thrilling ending to the Baxters River Ness 5K in which Dean Kane (Inverness Harriers),36, was almost caught on the line by fast-finishing youngster Danny McPake (Ross County AC),14. Emily Andrew, 14, led Inverness Harriers’ runners to a clean sweep of the top three positions in the women’s division of the run, with Rebecca Johnstone,14, second and Catriona Garvie, 13, third.
Full results on the runABC Scotland race listings page.
Image courtesy Bryan Dale at racephotos.org.uk