Abu-Rezeq and Kosgei promise record breaking runs at Baxters Loch Ness Marathon

mo abu 2017

The battle between Manchester-based Jordanian runner Mohammed Abu-Rezeq (handicap -4.7) and veteran Kenyan athlete Isaiah Kosgei promises to be one of the highlights of the Baxters Loch Ness marathon and running festival which has attracted more than 8,000 entrants from 48 countries for the full programme of races that include a 42k, 10k, 5k and a Wee Nessie run of 400m.

Abu-Rezeq, who has won the marathon in some style for the past two years, believes he is in the best form of his life and expects to smash the course record of 2:20:13 set by Kenya’s Simon Tonui  in 2009 if conditions are favourable.

The Altrincham and District runner was only 39 seconds outside the record in 2016 and recorded 2:22:00 in 2017.He has lost just one of 15 races this year in distances ranging from 5km to half marathon and that defeat was back in January.

He said: “I am more ready than I have been in the two previous years. I have been training hard and I will race smart on the Loch Ness course. You have to be careful on the downhills early on because it gets hard later. If the weather is good I can easily break the record. I am looking forward to it because it is a good race.”

Kosgei also promises to run a much more sensible race than he did twelve months ago when, after setting off at a crazily fast pace, he suffered badly and ended up jogging to the finish in fifth position with a time of 2hr 34min 24 secs.

The 43 year-old African has learned his lesson, however, and now too believes he crack the record. He said:" With that experience (of last year) I have revised my thinking. I will run it smartly and I feel there's no doubt I can do it in under 2:20. I am ready for it."

Others expected to be involved in the battle for the podium positions include prolific marathoner Adam Holland (handicap -3.2) and three-time Scottish champion Patryk Gierjatowicz (handicap -1.1). Gierjatowicz has a remarkable record of consistency in the race having three times finished second and placed third on two occasions over the past five years.

Jenn Wetton (handicap 3.2) hopes to be seriously competitive in the women's race just seven months after giving birth to her first child. The Central AC runner has won twice before, picking up the Scottish title at the Highland race in 2014 when she recorded a personal best time of 2:46:10.

Wetton admits she's unsure as to how fast she might run on this occasion but feels she is in reasonable shape. She said: "I gave birth to Adam in February and did my first run six weeks after that. Seven weeks after he was born I decided to do a seven mile run and I increased the distance every week after that until I ran 23 miles."

Her opposition is likely to be led by Fife AC's Sheena Logan (handicap 2.4) who set a personal best half marathon time of 1hr 21min 56secs when winning the Great Aberdeen Run last month.

Although the marathon and 10km are full, there are limited entries available for the 5km and the Wee Nessie Run over the weekend.

Full details at www.lochnessmarathon.com