Illuminator race champion Matthew Milne is setting his sights on another major long-distance challenge for 2019.
The Metro Aberdeen runner won the 15-mile head-torch run through the darkness of Glen Tanar Forest in 1hr 49min 41sec to finish ahead of a field of 851 competitors.
It was only his second north-east race victory, following his success in the 2017 Newmachar 10km.
Now Milne is turning his attention to next year’s Stirling marathon where he is hoping for another good performance.
He said: “It will be my third marathon but the first one I’ll have properly prepared for.
“I did the Edinburgh marathon in 2015 and Loch Ness in 2016 and my best time is 3hr 16min.
“I really want to break three hours so I’ll have to train well over the winter. I’ve been doing about 30-40 miles a week but I need to increase that for the marathon.
“I joined Metro Aberdeen recently and I hope that training with the guys there will help me as well.”
Milne was in good form at the Illuminator, taking an early lead which he never relinquished.
He said: “This was my third appearance in the Illuminator. The first time I ran here I just did it for fun.
“Last year I was more serious and finished 10th, so to win it is a bit of a jump up.
“I’m pleased with my time as well because it’s more than one minute faster than I did in 2017.”
Banchory’s Gordon Urquhart recorded 1:50:37 to finish second in the Aboyne run which was his first attempt at a night time race.
He said: “I celebrated my 40th birthday recently and I was hoping to be first in the veteran category so I guess I have surpassed that goal by getting second overall.”
Methlick’s John Bonner, who took up running 18 months ago, finished third in 1:51:33 and is now targeting next year’s London marathon.
He said: “It’s the first time I have done this race.
“I fancied something a little bit different from the marathons I have done, and this fitted the bill.
“I took up running about 18 months ago after having been an amateur footballer.
“I’ve done four marathons, twice doing Edinburgh and twice at Loch Ness.
“My best time is just under 2:50 so I’ll try to do better than that at London next April.
“The only race I have planned before that, at the moment, is the Inverness half marathon in March.”