Ultra-distance race organiser Andrew Gordon hopes to complete an unexpected double later this year.
The Dee 33 mile run from Aberdeen to Banchory and back, which he organised for the first time in mid-March, was the last north-east race to be held before the coronavirus lockdown brought all north-east sporting events to a shuddering halt.
But with restrictions beginning to be lifted, there are growing hopes within the local running community that some events might be able to take place later in the year.
Should that be the case, then there’s a fair chance that another of Gordon’s events, the Bennachie 50k trail race, scheduled for October 10 2020, might be the first out of the blocks.
He said: “That would be amazing if we had the last race before all of this kicked off and then became the first race to be held afterwards.
“But to be honest, it’s all up in the air a bit at the moment.
“I was almost at the point of leaving it until next year, but if guidelines allow us to go ahead then we will.
“We need to get authorisation from a variety of organisations such as Forestry and Land Scotland, Scottish Athletics and, of course, the Scottish Government.
“But the signs are quite positive that trail running events could be back by some time in September, albeit with reduced numbers of competitors.
“So, if all goes well, we aim to open entries on July 12 2020 and will initially accept 100 runners, but we will operate a waiting list.
“Once further clarification is received from the various authorities we may be able to increase the number of places we can offer.
“It may be necessary to make adjustments to our normal set-up by having staggered start times for small groups of runners to comply with social distancing requirements.
“With a 50k course, the runners soon get well spread out across the route, so it should be manageable.
“We’ll also have to look at registration arrangements on the day and practical issues such as toilet provision, but I’m sure we can handle whatever needs to be done.
“We are confident we’ll have measures in place on the day for the safety of the runners and marshals. However, if we are told to cancel we will offer refunds after any expenses incurred have been deducted.”
Last year’s inaugural Bennachie ultra was a huge success, with Metro Aberdeen duo Kyle Greig and Siobhan Killingbeck winning the men’s and women’s titles respectively.
If it does go ahead in October there’s sure to be a rush for places as race-deprived runners scramble for whatever is available.
In the meantime, Gordon is contemplating some personal long-distance challenges he might be able to undertake once circumstances allow.
A couple of years ago, along with friends Rod Wallace and Sarah Simpson, he ran from the source of the River Dee, high in the Cairngorms, to its mouth in Aberdeen.
It took them 29 hours to complete the 90-mile route.
Now he’s looking into another local test of stamina.
He said: “One of the challenges I’m considering is the Alford Round. It’s a run around all the hills in the Donside area, including all the Bennachie tops.
“One of the Cosmic Hillbashers club members did it a few years ago and it sounds really interesting.”
The Round, first completed by Dave Clark in 2017, takes in 39 hills and includes more than 12,000ft of climbing over a 57-mile course. It took him just under 16 hours to complete.
That should be a relative walk in the park compared with Duncan’s run along the River Dee.