Debut man Abu-Rezeq comes close to record breaking performance in the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon while Wetton regains women's title

Loch Ness

Mohammad  Abu-Rezeq (handicap -5.3) says only the effects of a freak injury prevented him from breaking the course record in yesterday’s Baxters Loch Ness marathon.

The Jordanian runner, who has been based in Altrincham for the past five years, was racing the distance for the first time but showed no lack of confidence as he blasted off at a fast pace. Within the first few miles he had opened a significant gap on the rest of the field and as the contest progressed he stretched ever further ahead.


He was never in any serious danger of being caught and eventually completed the course in 2hrs 20min 52sec, the fourth quickest time in the 15 year history of the race and only 39secs outside the course record set by Kenya’s Simon Tonui in 2009.


Abu-Rezeq was delighted to have won but says he was capable of running much faster. He said: “It’s a nice course. I enjoyed it. It’s my first marathon and I hoped to run faster, but I fell on a training run two days ago and hurt my leg which was a problem for me today. It was painful after about 10 miles and slowed me down. I went through halfway in about 68mins, so I know if it hadn’t been for the injury I would have easily broken the record. I would definitely like to come back here again because it is a fantastic course and I know I can go much faster.”


Salford’s Tarus Elly (handicap -2.3) , the 2013 and 2015 champion, was in the chasing pack for the first half of the race until he sustained an injury which finally forced him to withdraw around the 17 mile point. That left Patryk Gierjatowicz (handicap -3.3 ) and Kyle Greig (handicap -3.4) to engage in a hard-fought battle for the minor placings.


And it was the Edinburgh-based Pole, Gierjatowicz, who prevailed, taking second position in 2:25:28 with Greig settling for third in 2:26:22. It’s the fourth year in a row that Gierjatowicz has featured in the top three but that first win as so far eluded him.  He was second behind Elly in 2013 and second again behind Tomas Abyu (handicap 6.0) in 2014 before taking third position last year.



Tom Charles (handicap -3.0) was in contention for a podium position but fell away in the later stages to finish fourth in 2:34:00 with Lewis Banton (handicap 0.3) fifth in 2:36:44.


Mark Webster, in 16th position, won the over-40’s prize when recording 2:51:51while Antoni Kot (handicap 17.7) took the over-50’s award in 2:59:06 and Terence Coyle (handicap 4.5) was first over-60 in 3:06.25.


Jen Wetton (handicap 0.4)  won the women’s title for the second time in three years when recording 2:47:03 to finish10th overall. Her time was 58secs slower than in 2014, but the Central AC runner was satisfied with the outcome. She said: “I ran it more sensibly than before and paced it better in the first half, but after that I lost time on the hills and I never got it back, although I did feel stronger again at the end.

“I was on my own after about two or three miles and I never saw anyone again until near the end when a guy overtook me. It’s harder to keep concentration when that happens.


“I was hoping for faster, but I’m making no excuses, I just wasn’t good enough to do it on the day. But I have to be happy after the injuries I had last year when doing the 10km seemed so hard. This race has been my goal all summer and I wanted to finish it in one piece and to win it so, I’m pleased to have achieved these goals. I’d also like to says thanks to my training partner, Kenny Hislop, who has helped me all year.”


Victoria Hunter (handicap 6.9), who has enjoyed success in a number of ultra events, finished second in 2:59:37 with hill running specialist Jill Mykura (handicap 17.8) taking third spot and first over-40 in 3:07:05.


Erica Christie (handicap 7.5), one of five runners to have competed in all 15 editions of the marathon, successfully defended the over-50 women’s age group title when finishing eighth in 3:16:35. Christie finished second in the women's division of the inaugural Baxters race in 2002. Her quickest Loch Ness time of 3:06:51was set when finishing fourth in 2009 and her slowest of 3:18:47 came in 2013 when she was second in the over-50 age group.


Sarah Houston (handicap 12.5) won the over-60's title in 3:36:22.


Inverness runner Paul Smith, who finished 29th in 2:56:14 won the HSPC Gerald Cooper Memorial Trophy which is presented to the first Highlandrunner across the finish line.