Central AC's Ross Houston has confirmed he will be competing again in this year's Baxters Loch Ness Marathon. Houston, fresh from his fifth placed finish and PB at the Edinburgh marathon, is the leading Scottish runner to have signed up for the race on September 30.
This year has been Houston's most successful to date with the 32-year-old winning the Scottish 5k road running title at Edinburgh and taking second in the Lillebaelt half marathon in Denmark with a time of 1:05:51.
Tthese performances are encouraging as Houston has set himself a long term goal of qualifying for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. He sees the Loch Ness race as being an important stepping stone towards achieving that target. He said: "The qualifying period for the Commonwealth Games doesn't start until January 1 next year but I want to get another marathon under my belt before that so I'm aiming for Loch Ness."
Even though he set a PB in Edinburgh with a time of 2:21:01, he will need to get under the 2:19 barrier to stand a chance of Commonwealth qualification. Considering his time in Denmark, however, the qualifying standard certainly seems within his grasp: "I was really pleased with the run in Denmark because it was a big personal best time. Now I'm looking forward to getting some decent training done over the summer. I'll probably do the Great Scottish Run and the Stirling 10K as part of my build up to Loch Ness."
As one of the leading candidates aiming to represent his country at the games, Houston hopes a few others can join him in the pursuit of the sub 2:19 barrier: "It would be good if there was a group of Scottish athletes all going for the Commonwealth qualifying time as that would spur us all along and would raise the standard of marathon running in this country."
Guaranteed entry for the Loch Ness Marathon is available until July 1. To register, visit the event website.