Abu-Rezeq retains Baxters Loch Ness marathon title while Lesley Pirie completes Scottish marathon double in women’s race

Loch Ness 42k winners 2017

Jordanian runner Mohammad  Abu-Rezeq  (handicap -4.6) successfully retained his title in Sunday’s Baxters Loch Ness marathon.  Lesley Pirie (handicap 2.2) completed a notable Scottish marathon double when winning the women’s race in 2:48:10. The Victoria Park Glasgow runner also won the Stirling marathon earlier in the year. 

Abu-Rezeq completed the course in 2hr 22min 02sec, which was  slower than he recorded last year, but the Altrincham-based runner was nevertheless delighted with the outcome.

He said: “The Kenyan guy was good and he set off at a very fast pace. I began to get away, however, and by halfway, which I reached in 1:07:30, he was falling behind. After 15 miles I looked back and he was further back so I just kept pushing on.

“It was very hard though as I am not running as well as last year. My technique is not so good, so I'm  not fast. I am happy to win but now I‘m going to take a month off to recover. I probably won’t do another marathon until next year when I’d like to come back here and try for a third win.”

Kosgei,  who was racing for the first time since recording 2:13:49 for second place at the 2011 Alexander the Great marathon in Greece, had hoped to make a winning comeback but, after a bright start, the 42 year-old Kenyan faded. 

Metro Aberdeen’s Kyle Greig (handicap -2.7), who was third in 2016, came through to take second place in 2:27:56 while Patryk Gierjatowicz (Hunters Bog Trotters) maintained his remarkable record of consistency by taking third position in 2:29:20. Gierjatowicz has now finished in the top three for each of the past five years but victory remains elusive for the Edinburgh-based Polish runner.

Greig, who gets married next weekend, was thoroughly exhausted at the finish but delighted to have taken second. He said: “Kosgei and Abu-Rezeq went off like rockets and I didn’t expect to see either of them again. I ran with Patryk for the first half and felt comfortable going through half way in 1:12:50. I pushed on after that and got away from Patryk. The hill at 20 miles was a killer and I had to dig deep there. Then, at 24 miles, I was amazed to see Kosgei in front of me. I went past him and he never responded so I kept working, although I was dying. I never thought I’d get on the podium, never mind finish second.

David Gallie (Highland Hill Runners), who clocked 2:56:29, won the HSPC Gerald Cooper Memorial Trophy which is presented to the first Highland runner across the finish line.

Robert Soutar won the over-50’s prize in 2:49:18 while Terry Coyle was first over-60 in 3:08:18 and Ken Fraser headed the over-70’s in 4:48:45. 


Lesley Pirie (handicap 2.2)completed a notable Scottish marathon double when winning the women’s race in 2:48:10. The Victoria Park Glasgow runner, who won the Stirling marathon earlier in the year, was pleased with her time despite it being seven minutes adrift of her best.

She said: “My training hasn’t been going so well recently so I didn’t even expect to be as fast as I was. I found it really tough, especially the last ten miles, but it’s a great event. I didn’t see any of the other women runners after the first couple of miles but there were plenty of guys to run with and they were good company.

“I am pleased with the way it turned out but I think I’ll take a break from marathons now as I quite fancy having a go at some ultra races. I’m thinking about the 95 mile West Highland way race next June but I haven’t decided for sure.

Laura Bowman, who was raised in Saltcoats but now lives in Mammoth Lakes, California, finished second in a personal best 2:56:02 while Lothian’s Chloe Cox recorded 2:56:39 for third position on her marathon debut.

Bowman said: “I came over specifically to do the marathon and to visit my brother who lives here. It has been fantastic as I have run the fastest time of the five marathons I have completed so far. This one was beautiful and hilly and the atmosphere was great with everybody cheering the runners. I was also doing it to support an organisation which supplies landmine victims with prosthetic limbs. So, all in all, I have had a great time.”

Hazel Wyness (handiccap 5.1), who was a member of the Metro Aberdeen side which won the women’s British marathon team title at London in April, finished fourth in 3:02:09 with Jill Mykura (handicap 6.6) taking the over-40’s prize by taking fifth position in 3:03:55. Anne Murchall was first over-50 in 3:26:17.


Glasgow’s Erica Christie, (handicap 7.7) who has taken part in all 16 Loch Ness marathons, produced one of the top performances of the day when setting a British over-60 age group record of 3:12:52 when finishing 10th overall in the women’s race. Awesome running from Erica, to follow on from her  41 minute 10k and 68 minute 10 mile postings in recent months.