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Crawford wins Loch Ness

Loch Ness Marathon

Loch Ness Marathon

Megan Crawford took full advantage of perfect running conditions to set a new women’s course record at the Baxters Loch Ness marathon on her debut at the distance while – Manchester-based Kenyan Tarus Elly was an impressive winner of the men’s race.

Elly was in commanding form in the Highlands as he cruised to an impressive victory.

The Manchester-based athlete, who comes originally from the western Kenyan village of Eldoret which has produced so many world class distance runners over the years, was making his marathon debut.

The 28 year-old never looked to be in any danger of losing and although his winning time of 2hr 27min 21sec was more than seven minutes outside the course record set by his compatriot Simon Tonui in 2009, Elly looked as though he is capable of running faster in the future.

He said: ‘I was very cautious at the start because it was my first marathon. But after six miles I was feeling good and I thought that the other guys wouldn’t be able to stay with me.

‘I began to pull away and ran the rest of the race on my own. Before the start I was looking for a time of between 2:28 and 2:30, so I am very happy to get 2:27.

‘The course is really good and I couldn’t believe how perfect the conditions were. It was amazing.’

Edinburgh University’s Patryk Gierjatowicz duly picked up the Scottish marathon title when finishing runner-up in 2:30:49

The postgraduate maths student becomes the first Polish athlete to win the national title.

He said: ‘I’m pleased to be Scottish champion but my time wasn’t so good as its about four minutes outside my best.

‘I slowed down quite a lot over the final two miles. It’s frustrating because I have been injured recently and wasn’t able to do all the training I wanted to do.’

Ross Clark (Hunters Bog Trotters) smashed his previous best time to finish in third position overall and second in the national championship.

Ross said: ‘I can’t believe it. I’ve taken seven
minutes off my previous best time which I set at Rotterdam last year.

‘I’ve trained hard for this race and I was aiming for a place in the top ten but to finish third and win a national medal really is just amazing.’

Megan Crawford (Fife AC) enjoyed a marathon debut to savour by setting a new course record of 2hr 46min 37secs to win the Baxters Loch Ness marathon women’s title and the Scottish championship gold medal.

The Edinburgh-based runner shaved two secs off the previous leading mark for the course set by Ethiopia’s Dinknnesh Mekash Tefara in 2010.

Crawford pulled away from Romanian favourite Alina Nituleasa after the halfway mark and went on to win by more than three minutes. She was ecstatic about winning the race and collecting her first national title.

She said: ‘I had absolutely no expectations as it was my first marathon but it’s a nice feeling to win.

‘I knew I was running well in the lead up to the race as I finished third in the Moray half marathon recently.

‘After that I felt I could run a decent marathon time but I had no idea how it might go. I ran with the Romanian until around halfway when I began to get away and from there on I just kept it going.’

Nituleasa was well below her best when finishing second in 2:50:21.

Lisa Finlay (Dumfries), who won in 2011 and was runner-up last year, finished in third position in 2:52:25, but she was pleased with the outcome.

John Newsom gave his Commonwealth Games marathon qualification hopes a major boost by winning the Baxters River Ness 10K in impressive style.

The Nairn-based runner, who competes for Central AC, raced home in 30. 35 to defeat Dermot Cummins (Corstorphine AAC) by 15 secs while the 2011 race winner, Kyle Greig (Forres Harriers), was a further 51 secs seconds behind in third position.

Newsom said: ‘I put in an effort to get away from Dermot after about 6.5Km and from there on I just pushed hard all the way to the finish. I’m pleased with the performance as I’ve now got only four weeks until I do the Frankfurt marathon.

‘I ran there last year, but this time I’m treating it more seriously and I’d like to think I can have a real go at getting the Commonwealth qualifying time of 2hr 19mins.”

Cummins, who led in the early stages had to settle for second position while Greig was disappointed to finish third for the second year in a row despite being just three seconds outside his personal best for the distance.

Keith Hood (Corstorphine AC) won the over-40’s prize when finishing fourth overall in 31:57 while Stan Mackenzie (Forres Harriers) led the way in the over-50’s when placing ninth in 33:31.

Alex Sutherland (Inverness Harriers) won the over-60’s prize when clocking an impressive time of 40min 11 secs for 69th position of 2,506 finishers

Great Britain international Rhona Auckland (Banchory Stonehaven AC) retained the women’s title when recording 34min 34secs, which is one second quicker than the previous year.

The Edinburgh University student, who was competing for the first time since finishing ninth at the European under-23 championships in Finland in July, was happy with her performance.

Rhona said: ‘I moved into the lead after the first mile and after that I never really looked back. I was happy with the result as it’s my first race since July and my time is similar to last year.’

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