Megan Keith is surprise women’s champion in Baxters River Ness 10k

JWOC girls

Teenager Megan Keith (pictured on the left) upset the odds by scoring a shock win over title-holder,  Jenny Bannerman after a fascinating duel in the women’s division of the Baxters River Ness 10km. 

Megan Keith (handicap 1.7), who won a European Youth Orienteering Championship individual gold medal in 2018 and a Junior World Orienteering Championship (JWOC) gold relay medal in July this year was competing in her first 10km. She showed no inhibitions as she blasted off at a fast pace which Jenny Bannerman (handicap 0.3), struggled to match. Keith slowed very slightly towards the end but, spurred on by thousands of enthusiastic spectators, she sprinted through the finishing tape in 34:42 to achieve a memorable victory. She is pictured above on the left with her JWOC reammates, Grace Molloy and Fiona Bunn.

She said: “In orienteering, most of my races are held over 3km and I don’t think I’ve ever raced beyond 6km before, so this was a new experience. My aim was to hang on to Jenny for as long as possible and see what happened. So, I stayed with her for the first half and I got a personal best time for 5km, but after that I felt good and pushed on. I struggled a bit after 6km and I don’t think I would have made it had it not been for all the people cheering us on. I am absolutely delighted.”

Scotland international Bannerman, who was runner-up in 35:11, was magnanimous in defeat, saying: “It’s not that I had a bad race, it’s just that Megan had a brilliant race. That performance must put her amongst the top two or three in Britain for her age group. She has had such a successful orienteering season and I’m sure the combination of speed and endurance she has got from that has stood in her in good stead today. It’s great for her to be doing this at such a young age. I’m sure she’s going to have a great future.”

Cameron Strachan (handicap -3.6 ) sprinted to victory in the men’s race after an intriguing three-way battle with Sean Chalmers (handicap -3.8) and James Donald (handicap -4.3)

The Scotland international pulled away in the closing stages to win in 30:31 with Chalmers runner-up in 30:40 and Donald taking third spot in 30:41.

Strachan said:”After 3km I was a bit detached from the other two but I got back with them by halfway. We then ran together until around 9Km when Sean made a break. I ran with James but with 800m to go I realised Sean wasn’t getting any further ahead so I pushed on. I caught him with 400m to go and just went from there. I am delighted with the win and happy with the time. “


Isaiah Kosgei stormed to an emphatic victory over a record field of 5,200 runners to win the Baxters Loch Ness marathon by finishing well ahead of his closest challenger in 2hr 29min 31sec.

But running 26.2 miles was arguably a relative stroll in the park compared with the epic journey the veteran Kenyan athlete made to get to the Scottish Highlands.

He said:”I left home in Iten on Tuesday and it took me a day to get to Nairobi. Then, because of a misunderstanding about flight times I had to spend 24 hours at the airport before flying to Oman then on to Manchester and finally Aberdeen where I stayed. I travelled up to Inverness on Saturday.

Kosgei, who was proudly sporting a Metro Aberdeen vest in tribute to his friends at the north east club who have supported him during his visits to Scotland over the past two years, was determined that nothing would stop him from getting to Loch Ness.

He said: “Despite all the travel problems I did not give up. I stayed positive because I really wanted to be here to try to win after being fifth in 2017 and third last year.So, I need to thank everyone who has helped me, including my friends Alan Brown and Lynne Newcombe in Aberdeen and the race organisers.

Kosgei led for almost the entire way, passing through halfway in 1:11:20, and despite slowing significantly after that, he still had more than enough to hold off any challengers.

He said:“I am grateful to win. It was a tough second half but I am so happy as this means so much to me. I am here to raise funds to support children at home who need help with getting access to education. Some of my prize money will be used for that.”

Nick Harris-Fry(handicap-2.0) finished second in 2:36:30.

Katie White (handicap 0.2) smashed the women’s course record when powering to victory in 2:42:04, a time bettered by only five men. Her performance was a significant improvement on the previous standard of 2:44:50 set by Fife’s Megan Crawford in 2015.  

I am delighted to get the course record and it’s not too far away from by best time, so that’s good. It’s a lovely course. I’ve only ever done the big city marathons so this was very different and I enjoyed it.

  • The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running comprises the Loch Ness Marathon, River Ness 10K, 10K Corporate Challenge, River Ness 5K and Wee Nessie.  
  • Bronze award for ‘Best Marathon <5000 participants’ at the 2019 Running Awards in London.
  • Title sponsor is Baxters Food Group for 18th year running. Supporting sponsors & partners include: EventScotland, Hoka OneOne, Gore, High5, Highland Spring and Run4It
  • Participants in the 2018 Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running generated an estimated £894,000for charity. The official charity for 2019 is Macmillan Cancer Care with charity partners including Alzheimer Scotland, Highland Hospice and many other participating charities:
  • Baxters Food Group: For four generations, the Baxter family has been creating the finest soups, preserves, condiments, beetroot and chutneys with over 150 years of family know how and  expertise going into every product. Today, Baxters is one of  the UK’s best-loved food producers, from its inception as a small grocery store in 1868 to the current day, with leading brands, like Simply Delicious and Garners, and over 150 products to its name. Baxters has been title sponsor of the Loch Ness Marathon since 2002.
  • EventScotlandis a team within VisitScotland's Events Directorate and is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland's international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. Follow us @EventScotNews or
  • Macmillan Cancer Supportworks extensively across the Highlands and the rest of the UK and is the official charity partner.  Over 98% of the charity’s £247.4 million income in 2017 was generated from voluntary donations. It uses the money to pay for a wide range of healthcare, support and information services, including cancer care nurse specialists and mobile information centres.