Kosgei aims for victory in Baxters Loch Ness Marathon

isaiah Kosgei

Veteran Kenyan athlete Isaiah Kosgei believes thata burning desire to help others will propel him to another successful performance in the Baxters Loch Ness marathon this Sunday.

The 47 year-old distance runner, who comes from the Kenyan running town of Iten -home to many of the world’s top distance runners - has a fine record in the Highland race, having finished fifth in 2017 and third in 2018 before going on to claim victory on his most recent visit, in 2019.

On every occasion he has used his prize money to support a variety of charitable projects in his local area, most notably providing funds to improve facilities at his old school and helping to support the education of under-privileged children.

Kosgei missed last year's race because of covid travel restrictions, but is eagerly anticipating toe-ing the start line again on Sunday after making the long and arduous journey from East Africa.

He said: "I am in good shape and feel ready. I hope to win and run under 2hr 20min to enable me to accomplish my dream of giving back to society and transforming the lives of many children in my village.

"I started my build-up by running 210k per week and recently 170k per week. I train with a group in Iten but do my easy runs alone.

"I enjoy running Loch Ness because of the good reception I get every year. The organisation of the race is very good and there are beautiful views on the route. The course is tough but I have prepared for it.

"I am ready to run this marathon and any prize money will be used to give opportunities to children from humble backgrounds, to buy them school materials,uniforms,shoes and books. Also, I want to complete my previous project - providing a modern science laboratory at St Paul Makongi secondary school. This is all being done through my charity, the Kosgei Walpole Foundation."


Kosgei showed his form in another fund-raising challenge a few months ago, completing a testing 60k run in the heat of the Kenyan summer in 3hr 38min. Whether he’s in shape to crack the 2hr 20min barrier at Loch Ness remains to be seen. But,if successful, he will break the course record of 2:20:13 set by his compatriot Simon Tonui in 2009.

The Kenyan is to face some strong competition led by Edinburgh's Dougie Selman (handicap -3.7) who aims to match the achievement of his Corstorphine clubmate Stuart Livingstone who won in 2021.

Selman has a best time of 2:21:46 dating back to Berlin in 2016. But earlier this year he clocked a lifetime best half marathon time of 1:06:19 which suggests he's capable of a quick marathon performance.

Chris Richardson (handicap -0.9)is another contender for a place on the podium. The Scotland ultra distance international has a best time of 2:24:54 set in Cheshire last year. Since then he has focussed on  ultra-distance running and won the Scottish 100k title in 2021 before clocking a personal best 6:51:07 when finishing seventh at this year's British championships.That's the fifth best of all-time by a Scot.

Richardson's clubmate Will Mackay (handicap -2.7)is another athlete expected to be among the front runners. The former Scottish 10,000m track champion has a best time of 2:24:51. And Welshman Geraint Williams (handicap -0.9) will be hoping to improve on the runners-up position he filled last year.

Malta-based Aberdonian Jemima Farley is among the favourites to win the women's race.

The 36 year-old doctor has a personal best time of 2hr 46min 35 set at last year's Richmond marathon. It was the third quickest by a Scottish woman in 2021 and a repeat of that level of performance would make her very difficult to beat.

Farley, who has been living on the Mediterranean island for the past 18 months, having previously been based in London, has blossomed as a distance runner in recent years.

She said:"I took up running when I was 14 or 15 and did it with my dad just for fun. His first marathon was the Loch Ness one, a long time ago. My first was in Amsterdam, maybe in 2007, but I can't remember the time I got."

The only marathon Farley has run in Scotland so far was at Edinburgh in 2009 when she clocked 3:18:22.

She added: "I ran mainly for fun for many years but didn't do too many races. The only other Scottish race I can think of doing is the Stonehaven half marathon as it's close to where my family comes from. But that was more than 10 years ago.I've done a lot more racing since we moved to Malta where there's very active running community. There's races nearly every week.

"I'm looking forward to Loch Ness but I just hope there's no last-minute hitches as there's been talk of some airline strikes in the days leading up to the race.

"I've been training well but it has been ridiculously hot here, so I'm sure it will be different at Loch Ness."

Others aiming to feature in the battle for awards include Nottingham's Carolyn Hay (handicap 5.3) who was fifth last year and hill running specialist Jill Mykura who was third in 2016 and ninth in 2022. Australian Lea Pailas could also be among those at the sharp end of the field.