A record number of runners put themselves to the test as they tackled the 18th Loch Ness Marathon yesterday.
Flushed faces, beaded brows, mud-spattered lycra marked out the competitors as they pounded past the finish line at Bught Park.
More than 9,400 runners registered for this year’s events, which included the full marathon, a pair of 10k challenges, the River Ness 5k and Wee Nessie distances.
The event’s growing international appeal was evident too, with 60% of the marathon entrants coming from overseas.
The temperature managed to stay in double figures and the rain held off after noon, preventing Bught Park from becoming a quagmire as the crowds of participants and their supporters flocked to the area to enjoy the day.
Race director, Malcolm Sutherland said the atmosphere was “fantastic”.
He said: “The atmosphere all weekend has been remarkable and the energy around the finish line is unprecedented.
“Seeing the event grow to record numbers over our rich 18-year history has been a highlight – it’s become a staple in the Scottish sporting calendar.
“Not only does it help get worldwide runners of all ages and abilities fit and healthy but it also brings our community together and draws global attention to the Highlands in a superb spectator event.
“We’d like to thank our incredible army of volunteers who continue to bring inspirational energy and enthusiasm to make this event possible.”
Isaiah Kosgei from Metro Aberdeen RCwon the 26.2-mile marathon, finishing it in just under two-and-a-half hours.
Katie White from Garscube Harriers in Glasgow was the winning female athlete, setting an 18-year marathon record with an impressive time of two hours and 42 minutes.
In the Baxters River Ness 10K, the first man over the line was Cameron Strachan from Metro Aberdeen RC in a time of 30 minutes, followed by leading female Megan Keith from Inverness Harriers AAC in 34 minutes.
Loch Ness Marathon veterans, Fiona Rennie of Carnegie Harriers, Kenneth Stewart of Perth Road Runners and Erica Christie have never missed the race and claimed their 18th medal.
The oldest competitor was Roger Macmillan, 82, who came over from Canada to complete his ninth marathon at Loch Ness.
Runners have again been helping raise thousands of pounds for charity.
The event’s official partner, Macmillan Cancer Support, expects to receive in excess of £75,000 from participants.
Audrey Baxter, executive chairwoman and chief executive of sponsors, Moray-based Baxters, congratulated all the runners.
Entry for the 2020 event is now open at www.lochnessmarathon.com