Kenyan athlete, Benjamin Bartonjo, will run his first overseas marathon this Sunday (27 September) at the Baxters Loch Ness marathon. The 31-year-old is to make the long journey from his home town of Chopkorio in the Rift Valley to compete in the Scottish Highlands.
Benjamin Britain Bound
His agent, Tom Payn, believes Loch Ness offers his athlete the perfect stage to showcase his talent: "Benjamin has never been out of Kenya before so it will be interesting to see how he gets on. He ran 62min 50secs for a half marathon a few years ago and he has done a few marathons at home. Although we don't have any times for them, he has always finished in the top three which is impressive given the strength of marathon running over there.”
Bartonjo may face 2014 winner and four-time previous champion, Tomas Abyu, who’s indicated he's keen to defend his title. The Ethiopian-born British citizen will make a late decision over whether or not to compete. Taurus Elly, the 2013 winner who finished third in 2014, should be another contender for the top prize of £1500. However, the Salford Harrier, from Hyde, hasn't run a marathon since last year's Loch Ness race, so it's difficult to predict how he might fare.
Edinburgh-based Pole and Hunters Bog Trotter, Patryk Gierjatowicz, has won the national men’s marathon title at Loch Ness for the past two years after finishing second overall behind Elly, in 2013, and Abyu last year. He'll start as favourite to become only the third man in the history of the competition to win the title three years in a row.
In the female field, Megan Crawford will start as favourite to win the Scottish women's marathon title for the second time in three years. Tomas Abyu's training partner, Getenesh Tamirat (Belgrave Harriers) could be one of Crawford's main challengers for the women's prize if she decides to run.The 35-year-old has a best time of 2:47:47 set when winning last year's Jersey marathon.
Entries have now closed for the marathon and 10K but limited entries will be taken for the Baxters River Ness 5K and Wee Nessie children's run over the course of the race weekend. For more information, visit the event website.