Kenyan wins Loch Ness Marathon crown on third attempt
THIRD time proved to be the charm for 44-year-old Kenyan athlete Isaiah Kosgei, who finally won the Loch Ness Marathon.
Kosgei finished fifth in 2017 and third last year, but improved by another two places to be the first across the finish line this year in a time of 2:29:31.
Representing Aberdeen Metro, the Kenyan had spoken of challenging the course record of 2:20:13, and looked like he may be on course with a half-way split of 1:11:15, but on the slower uphill second half that moved away from him.
Travel issues hit Kosgei before the race even begun.
He missed his flight to Scotland, and was forced to wait for two days before finally making it into the country, but his determination to get to Inverness in time for the race showed in his performance.
“I kept positive, and finally I managed to get here because I needed to run the Loch Ness Marathon again and win,” Kosgei said.
“It took me almost six days to be here, because I had to wait a lot at the airport, I lost two days. I thank god I am here, and I made it again.
“I had to run almost all the way by myself, but there was a guy who came and we tried to push together before I left him behind. It was a tough second half, really tough, but I am so happy.
“This win to me means a lot, because I am in Scotland to raise some funds to support children back home, who have less opportunities to go to school. I am so grateful that some of my prize money will go to the children, and I am so grateful to win it.”
Behind Kosgei was a pair of Londoners who were competing in the Loch Ness Marathon for the first time, Nick Harris-Fry (Orion Harriers) and Ed Rees (Slinn Allstars).
Harris-Fry took the opportunity to turn the trip north into a family holiday, but says he never expected a podium finish.
“I actually can’t believe it, I’m so pleased, so proud,” he said.
“I didn’t think I was anywhere near there. I might have to come back, I don’t think I’ll be second again, that might have been a bit of a fluke, but I’ll definitely do it again.”
Rees was a big fan of the course route, and praised the support of the local crowd.
“It’s a beautiful course, lovely, picturesque, the landscape was unbelievable,” he said.
“It’s all downhill for the first 10 miles, so it was delightful. Running along the loch was unbelievable, I felt so lucky to be here.
“It was the right temperature for running too, about 10 degrees and smooth.
“The support was fantastic coming into town, I felt like a rock star.”