Aberdonian Graham Laing, who won the inaugural Inverness half marathon, will compete in the race for the 25th time tomorrow.
The 63-year-old former Aberdeen AAC member, who now represents Inverness Harriers, recorded an impressive 1hr 4min 37secs in 1985 – and that’s still the third-quickest time recorded in the 35-year history of the race.
The course record, set by Banchory’s Robbie Simpson in 2018, is only 10secs faster.
Laing has been competing since he was 16 and, during the late 1970s and early 1980s, wearing the red and white of Aberdeen, he was one of Scotland’s leading distance runners.
He won the Scottish 10,000m track title in 1979 and was fifth in the inaugural London marathon in 1981, clocking his personal best time of 2:13:59.
The following year he represented Scotland in the marathon at the Brisbane Commonwealth Games, finishing seventh in 2:14:54.
He was also part of the 1982 Aberdeen AAC 10-man relay team that broke the world record for running the 850 miles from John o’ Groats to Land’s End, completing the route in 77:26:18.
Tomorrow will be Laing’s second appearance in the Inverness race since receiving a hip replacement in 2016.
The veteran runner, who coaches primary school children in athletics for Highlife Highland at Inverness Leisure, is also a coach at Inverness Harriers.
He has been helping prepare runners for tomorrow’s half marathon and the accompanying 5K fun run.
Laing said: “Although my fast times are behind me now, I’m excited to take on my 25th Inverness half marathon.
“It’s a great course, well organised, and you always have plenty of support from the Highland crowd.
“It’s one of my favourite events and it has been a pleasure to help others prepare for it and the 5K.
“I wish all the best to everyone taking part.”
Race director Malcolm Sutherland said: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Graham back to the Inverness half marathon for the 25th time and I’m delighted he is inspiring the next generation of runners.
“The 2020 event looks set to be as popular as ever and I’m sure Graham and his fellow runners will get the Highland welcome they deserve.”