Veteran Aberdeen-based runner Marie Baxter has mapped out her marathon running schedule for the next two years after enjoying a successful 2018.
The 45-year-old, who competes for JS Kintore Running Club, has her sights set firmly on completing all six races in the world majors marathon series.
London and Berlin have already been ticked off and next year she aims to compete at Boston and Chicago. Then it’s on to Tokyo and New York in 2020.
Baxter ended her 2018 season in fine style by picking up the North District over-40 age group women’s 10-mile road running title at Lossiemouth.
She finished second overall in the women’s division of the race, 26secs behind Scotland hill running international Kirstie Rogan (Moray Road Runners), and was rewarded with a personal best time of 1hr 4min 59secs.
Baxter said: “I’m not sure where that performance came from. My previous best was 1:05:27 which I set there four years ago, so it’s good to improve on that.
“I wasn’t far behind Kirstie and I was definitely pulling her in towards the end. If it had been a half marathon I’m sure I would have caught her. To be fair she did brilliantly and deserved her win.”
The Lossiemouth performance capped a good 12 months for Baxter.
She has tackled half marathons in San Francisco, Newcastle, Dublin, Manchester, London and Las Vegas, regularly featuring on the podium. Her best time of 1:24:59 was set at Manchester in October where she was first in her age group.
She said: “This year has gone a lot better than I expected after coming back from injury in autumn 2017.
“I ran 1:25:02 for second position in the Kinloss to Lossiemouth half marathon in February and I was also pleased with the 1:25:06 when finishing third at the London Landmarks half marathon in March.
“I cut down on the number of races I normally do and all my half marathons were under 1:30 which was good.
“I did a lot of travelling and ran 1:29:56 at the San Francisco half in July and 1:26:39 at Las Vegas in November.”
Baxter’s success hasn’t been confined to 10 miles and half marathons.
She has a best marathon time of 2:57:42, at London in 2016, but was a bit disappointed to run 3:09:25 when returning to the capital in April this year.
Baxter made amends for that by clocking 2:59:02 at Berlin in September where she was eighth in her age division. Now she is looking ahead with optimism and has set herself some clear targets.
She said: “My first big race in 2019 is the Boston marathon in April.
“I’ll be doing three half marathons before that, starting with Kinloss-Lossiemouth and Brighton in February. Then I’m going to do the Big Half Marathon at the beginning of March in London.
“I want to run in all the world majors series marathons so I’ve also got Chicago in October. The following year I’ll go for Tokyo and New York.
“I’d really like to get under three hours in all of them but that might not be so easy. I believe the New York course is really tough. I just want to complete them all.”
Baxter’s first race of 2019 will, however, be very much different from these big city road races.
She has been selected to represent the North of Scotland in the national Inter District cross country championships at Stirling in January.
Baxter said: “I was surprised to be picked for that as I hadn’t done the North cross country championships. The selectors must have taken road running performances into account.”
Scotland internationals James Espie and Steph Provan, both members of Deeside Runners, are the leading entrants for the inaugural Knockargety night race at Tarland tomorrow.
The 9km run, which includes 200m of climbing, starts at 7.30pm from the village square with entries taken until 7.15pm at Angie’s Cafe.
The initial stages of the run follow mountain bike trails before winding through Drummie Woods and continues by way of forestry road climbs to the summit of Knockargety.
After a loop at the top of the hill the course returns by the outward paths to the finish.
All competitors must have a good headtorch and carry full body cover, a map and compass.