Ross Houston is to defend his Scottish marathon title in this year’s Baxter’s Loch Ness marathon.
The Central AC runner, who lives in Roslin near Edinburgh, is the fastest Scottish runner so far to sign up for the big race on 30th September.
Houston has set himself a long term goal of qualifying for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and sees the Loch Ness race as being an important stepping stone towards achieving that target.
He said: “The qualifying period for the Commonwealth Games doesn’t start until 1st January next year but I want to get another marathon under my belt before that so I’m aiming for Loch Ness. “
Houston set a personal best time of 2hr 21min 01sec in last month’s Edinburgh marathon when he finished as the leading Scot and fifth overall behind four African athletes, but he needs to get under 2:19 if he is to have any chance of making it onto the Commonwealth team.
Ross said: “I was reasonably pleased with my run in Edinburgh but I would like to have been faster.”
His next target is to try to get under the 2:20 barrier which should be possible before too long given his fine form over shorter distances.
Houston won the national marathon title in last year’s Loch Ness race in which he finished a close second behind Salford’s Tomas Abyu who won the men’s prize for the third time.
Guaranteed marathon entry is open until 1 July. After that date only charity, club and overseas places will be available. The Marathon is open to runners aged 18 and over on day of race. Unfortunately the route is not suitable for wheelchair entrants.
Entries are now open at www.lochnessmarathon.com