Dougie Selman and Jemima Farley scoop top prizes at Baxters Loch Ness Marathon 63 days ago
Dougie Selman and Jemima Farley, winners of the Loch Ness Marathon.
Dougie Selman and Jemima Farley, winners of the Loch Ness Marathon.

Edinburgh athlete Dougie Selman scooped the top prize at the 20th anniversary Baxters Loch Ness Marathon with Aberdonian Jemima Farley almost breaking the course record on the way to winning the women’s race.

Selman (Corstorphine AC) came from behind to defeat long-time leader, Kenyan athlete Isaiah Kosgei with Shaun Cumming (Highland Hill Runners) finishing third.

The Edinburgh athlete didn’t move into pole position until a little more than a mile from the end but opened up a big gap over these closing stages to complete the testing Highland course in 2hr 23min 53secs.

Kosgei, the 2019 winner, came through in 2:26:36 but was almost caught by Cumming whose final sprint took him to within one second of the Kenyan.

Selman said: “I don’t know what Kosgei went through the halfway point in, but when I got there he was out of sight.

“I ran quite consistently from that point on but quite suddenly after about 23 or 24 miles I could see the gap was closing and I could see he was slowing down.

“I passed him after the 24 mile mark and just kept going. The final mile was very hard and felt like it was never going to end. But it was a good feeling to breast the tape at the finish – I’ve never done that before.”

It was only the second marathon Selman has completed, the other being at Berlin in 2016 when he recorded 2:21:46, but he has another one planned before the end of this year.

He said: “I’m doing the Valencia marathon in nine weeks from now. So, this was a good opportunity to practice a race, taking on drinks, gels and getting experience of how tough the last stages can be. It was also good to be in a competitive race. And Loch Ness is a good course with great pockets of support along the way.”

Dougie Selman left it late to win the Loch Ness Marathon. 

Kosgei arrived in the Highlands less than 24 hours before the race, having flown from Nairobi to Frankfurt and on to Glasgow. He then took a train to Aberdeen before catching a bus to Inverness.

He was relaxed about the outcome, saying: “I went through halfway in about 1hr 8min but I got very tired after 22 miles. I don’t think all the travelling over the past few days has helped me. I’ve been sitting down too much. But I’m still happy to finish second.”

Third-placed Cumming was ecstatic about his performance.

He said: “I ran here six years ago and did 3:19 so it’s a big step up from that.

“My best time before this was 2:32 at Edinburgh in May, so this is another huge improvement.”

Ross Mackenzie was first over-40 in 2:35:00 with Gary Shaw (Barlick Fell Runners) winning the over-50’s award in 2:49:26. The over-60’s title went to Alan Roy in 3:33:44 and Karoly Baumann took the over-70’s prize in 4:20:33.

Just what the doctor ordered

Jemima Farley was unaware how close she came to breaking the course record when winning the women’s race.

The Malta-based Aberdonian doctor lifted the title with a superb time of 2:42:40 to knock close to four minutes off her previous best set at last year’s Richmond marathon.

The Loch Ness record of 2:42:04 was tantalisingly just 36 seconds outside her grasp. But her time puts her into second position in this year’s Scottish women’s rankings.

She said: “I didn’t know the course record. To be honest I was hoping I could run around 2:40 but I’m very happy to have improved my best time.

“I felt very good for the first half but I was definitely struggling over the final 8k. But after running in Malta it was great to enjoy cool conditions. It was so nice to be back in Scotland and running along the side of the loch was absolutely stunning.”

Farley was also unaware of her high placing in the national rankings but acknowledged it would be quite an achievement if that was to be recognised.

She said: “There would be nothing better than to be able to represent my country. For now I’m just concentrating on my next marathon which will likely be in Malta next February.”

Aberdonian Jemima Farley was the fastest female at the Loch Ness Marathon. 

Glasgow University’s Rosa Donaldson, competing in only her second marathon, finished in second position in 2:57:01.  Carolyn Hay (Redhill Road Runners) took third position in 3:02:20 while Emma Perz Horn (Trail Running Association) was first over-40 in 3:21: 36. Lea Pailas led the way in the over-50s in 3:17:59 and Claire Dalrymple won the over-60s in 3:47:43.

Mhairi storms to 10K title

Great Britain international Mhairi MacLenan (Inverness Harriers) returned to her hometown to scythe 46 seconds off the 16-year-old women’s course record in the Baxters River Ness 10k with a time of 33min 00sec.

The Edinburgh-based athlete, who was raised in the Highland capital, was competing in the event for the first time since she was a youngster and certainly made her presence felt by producing an outstanding performance. Only 10 men were faster.

The previous record of 33:46 had been set by Kenyan athlete Cathy Mutwa in 2006 but MacLennan simply tore that to shreds.

She said: “I’m delighted but because it’s two seconds outside my personal best so I’m actually a little annoyed about that. When the clock came into sight, I thought surely I can get a personal best, but not quite.

“I didn’t know what shape I was in beforehand because I haven’t raced for six months so I was treating this as a run-out ahead of doing a half marathon in Portugal next weekend.

“At halfway although I thought I might get the record, I still wasn’t sure if I might blow up. So, I was constantly checking in with my body for the rest of the race and I guess I surprised myself.

“I had a lot of big aims for the summer but unfortunately illness knocked them all on the head. So, this is a big confidence booster for the season ahead. I’m now looking forward to doing the Lisbon half marathon next weekend.”

On your marks – the action gets under way. 

MacLennan also revealed she’s be keen to return to the Baxters event in the future, with perhaps a different race target.

She said: “This is the first time I’ve done the 10k although I think I ran in the 5k when I was about 10. One day I’d like to come back and do the marathon.”

Runner-up Ginie Barrand also ducked under the previous record with a superb time of 33:39. The Metro Aberdeen member was thrilled as she is in the middle of training hard towards the Valencia marathon in December.

She said: “That’s a personal best by more than two minutes, so I am very happy considering my focus is on marathon training.”

Scotland Commonwealth Games 800m representative Jenny Selman, wife of marathon winner Dougie, took third spot.

Three-time previous champion Jenny Bannerman (Inverness Harriers), competing just three months after the birth of her first child, was ninth in 39:34. Emma Watt led the way in the over-40 age group in 40:17, Julie Wilson (Edinburgh AC) topped the over-50s results in 40:38 and Nicky Hayes (Kent AC) was first over-60 in 45:14.

Meanwhile, Lachlan Oates won the men’s title after a three-way battle for supremacy which was only resolved over the final two kilometres.

The 30-year-old Elgin-based Shettleston Harriers club member, competing in the event for the first time, eventually pulled away from Kent AC’s Owen Hind and defending champion Sean Chalmers (Inverness Harriers) to take the top prize in a time of 30:26.

Oates said: “I tried to run my own race.

“I took the lead at the start and led for 4k with Sean and Owen just behind. After 4k they went past me but I responded by putting in a couple of surges as I felt they weren’t really going any faster. After the first surge Sean dropped a bit and in last 1.5k I saw Owen’s shadow dropping further behind. I’m pleased with the time as I would have been happy with 30:30 so 30:26 is the fifth best I’ve done so I’m pleased with that.”

Hind was runner-up in 30:32 while Chalmers had to settle for third position in 31:05.

Matthew Blunden (Moray Road Runners) was first over-40 in 33:37, his clubmate Gareth Jenkins led the way in the over-50s in 34:54. Bryce Aitken (Fife AC) was the leading over-60 in 39:00 and Neil Scruton (Scarborough Athletic Club) was top over-70 in 45:04.

Green and Macrae take 5k honours

Cameron Green (Giffnock North AC) finished ahead of a field of close to 1,000 participants in the Baxters River Ness 5k fun run, clocking an impressive time of 15min21 secs.

The 17-year-old Glasgow-based athlete said: “I used to live in Inverness and I actually took part in this event when I was seven or eight.

“I think I did around 22mins on that occasion. I still have family here so it was good to come back and be part of the running festival after all those years.”

Lachlan Thomas (Ross County AC) was runner-up with his clubmate Andrew Baird in third position.

Lois Macrae (Inverness Harriers) was the first girl to finish, completing the course in 17:58.

The result marked a huge improvement on the 13-year-old Millburn Academy pupil’s previous best for the distance.

She said: “I pulled away from other girls so I tried to hang on with some of the boys to get a fast time. I’m really pleased with the time as it’s an improvement of 1min 12secs on my previous best.”

This victory on home territory capped a fantastic summer season for the youngster who won 1500m track titles in the Scottish schools and Scottish national championships.

Jessica Needs (Peterhead AC) was second while Rhian Birnie (Young Meldrum Runners) took third spot.