Tom Roche produced an excellent performance in the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon despite spending the night before the race sleeping in the back of a van.
The Oldmeldrum athlete, who won the Scottish masters title on his marathon debut at Stirling earlier in the year, took fifth place in the Highland race with a time of 2hr 36min 41secs.
He was the first Scot to complete the course and finished second in the over-40 age group category behind Kenya’s Isaiah Kosgei who was third overall in 2:26:37.
But while Roche’s rivals were comfortably tucked up in bed on the eve of the big run, the Insch Trail Running club member was kipping down as best he could in the back of his vehicle.
He said: “I play in the Iron Broo ceilidh band and we had a gig in Ellon the night before the marathon.
“I didn’t get finished there until 11.30pm and after we packed up I got into the van and drove to Inverness.
“I got there at 2.30am then slept in the back for four hours before getting up to meet some friends who had collected my race number. Then I had to catch the bus that took us to the start of the race.”
Roche was unfazed by the arrangements and went on to produce a strong performance.
He said: “I was happy with my run, but it was quite hard.
“I was going fine, but I probably ran too hard down the hill at about 20 miles and from that point on it was very tough.
“I was delighted to finish fifth and to get among the prize money, as that’s always a nice wee bonus.”
Kosgei, who is to be based in Aberdeen for the next month, finished third overall to win the over-40 age group in 2:26:37.
The Kenyan had finished fifth in 2017 after suffering badly in the closing stages, but he performed much better on this occasion.
It was important for him to feature in the prize list as part of his reason for competing here was to raise money for the school he founded in his homeland.
He said: “I am pleased. Conditions were good and I was much happier than last year and I ran much better. I am going to run in the Proms 3km race at Aberdeen beach next week and maybe some other races.”
Metro Aberdeen’s Dwayne Batt pulled out all the stops to slash a massive chunk off his previous best when finishing ninth in 2:43:17. The Dee 33-mile ultra champion, who was third in this year’s Fetteresso marathon in 3:16:24, enjoyed the added bonus of taking ninth position.
His clubmate Jim Tole, making his marathon debut, was 21st overall in 2:52:54, which gave him sixth position in the Over-40s.
Fetteresso race winner Mark Mosgrove (Banchory Running Club) was 25th in 2:53:21, while Richard Horne (Metro Aberdeen) was fourth in the over-40s in 3:02:36.