Hungarian international Fanni Gyurko hopes to complete a notable north-east ultra-running double when she competes in October’s Bennachie 50k trail race.
The Dunblane-based runner scored an impressive victory in the women’s division of the Lairig Ghru mountain marathon between Braemar and Aviemore earlier this month when finishing seventh overall from a field of 134.
Her time of 3:34:24 was less than two minutes outside the course record set by Aberdonian Lucy Colquhoun in 2006 and it’s the second-quickest in the history of the race.
Now Gyurko is focussing on another major local trail running title by signing up for the Bennachie event on October 10.
She said: “I was really happy with my performance at the Lairig Ghru as I was so close to the record. Deeside’s Robbie Simpson won the men’s race that day and he recommended the Bennachie one to me as I was looking for something else to focus on.”
Gyurko has been living in Scotland for the past seven years after relocating from her home in Budapest.
She previously represented Hungary in a number of major orienteering competitions and it was at one of those where she met her future husband, GB international Graham Gristwood. The couple then decided to settle in Scotland.
The 33-year-old, who represents Central AC, has also enjoyed success in marathon running and earlier this year set a personal best time of 2:35:57 in Seville.
Selection to represent Hungary at the Tokyo Olympic Games was a goal at one point, but Gyurko feels that might be a step too far as the qualifying requirements have been made much tougher than in previous years.
She said: “The qualifying standard is 2:29:30 and I don’t think I’m ready to do that. But I think I can run faster than I did at Seville, maybe around 2:33 or 2:34.
“There is another way of getting selected, and that’s through your position in the world rankings, but again I think that might be difficult as there are only 80 places available in the marathon. I have entered the Valencia marathon in December but I doubt if it will go ahead.
“I also qualified to represent Hungary in the world mountain running championships on Lanzarote in November, but that has been cancelled as well.
“So, for now, I am happy to be doing these longer races and I am enjoying them. I have been doing a bigger mileage during lockdown and although I was injured for a while I now feel I’m in great shape.
“I am looking forward to Bennachie as I’ve seen photos and videos of the course and it looks attractive. I will try to get up there to have a look at it before the race, however, as I feel it is a big advantage to see the course before racing.”