Bennachie hill race winner Callum Smith will now turn his attention to trying to secure a place on the Great Britain team for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
The 20-year-old cross-country ski specialist, who comes from Inverurie, defeated a record field of 167 runners to win the 24th edition of the Garioch race.
Smith completed the 12.8km course, which included more than 500m of climbing, in 57min 57sec to finish well clear of his closest challenger.
He said: “I wasn’t sure how I’d get on. Although I’m in pretty good shape at the moment my technique on some of the downhill sections isn’t as good as some of the specialist hill runners.
“The race went well for me. I took the lead just before the halfway point and pulled away after that.”
Smith has taken a year out from his chemical engineering degree course at Edinburgh University to focus his energies on trying to secure a place in the Olympics next February.
He said: “I’ll soon be heading off to Italy for a spell of altitude training with the national squad. Then I’ll be racing all over Europe virtually every weekend up until Christmas then again after the New Year.
“All I can do is try to meet the qualification requirements then wait to see how the selection process works out.”
Morven race winner Ben Abrahams (Cosmic Hillbashers) recorded 59:25 to finish in second position behind Smith at Bennachie and that earned him top spot in the Aberdeenshire hill racing series for the season.
Abrahams also led his club to the team prize with backing from Stuart Smith (fourth in 61:43) and Alex Gaastra (seventh in 63:29).
George French (Garioch Road Runners), winner of last month’s Highland Perthshire half marathon at Aberfeldy, finished third in 60:13.
Former Scotland international Hayden Lorimer, in fifth position, was first in the over-40 age group in 62:32 while the over-50’s award went to Peter Crawley who clocked 68:59.
Aberdeen’s Veronique Oldham (Cosmic Hillbashers) won the women’s division of the race for the second time in four years when recording 68:28.
Oldham also led Cosmic to the women’s team prize.
Metro Aberdeen’s Laura Sarkis pipped her clubmate Elaine Omand by two sec to take the runners-up spot in 71:51 while Elaine Stewart (Cosmic Hillbashers) won the over-50’s prize in 1:26:20.
Tamsin Morris (Garioch Road Runners) won the Aberdeenshire series when finishing 14th in 85:17.
Duncan Gibb (Nordic Ski Club) won the 15-17 boys’ race in 19:43 with Lise Theron (Aberdeen AAC) leading home the girls’ field in 23:12. Matthew Keenan (Aberdeen AAC) was first in the 13-14 age group race in 20:27 while Frances Sealy (Banchory Stonnehaven AC) was the leading girl in 28:01.