No kilt - more speed

Kenneth Stewart hopes to be leading the way in this year's Loch Ness marathon.
Kenneth Stewart hopes to be leading the way in this year's Loch Ness marathon.

Runner Kenneth Stewart is giving up his kilt for this year’s Baxters Loch Ness Marathon to achieve a faster time, and realise an ambition.

Kenneth (64), an insurance officer at St Andrews University, is aiming to come in the top three over-60s and win a silver quaich traditionally presented to the first three in the class.

And he reckons that swapping his kilt for running shorts will help achieve his aim: “I missed out by 30 seconds a couple of years ago when I decided to run in a kilt, which slows me down by about three minutes per hour. So I’m ditching the kilt in favour of my running shorts, and maybe this will be the year. I think I’ll have to get in at under 3:30 to do it.”

This is Kenneth’s 14th Loch Ness marathon, he is one of the few runners to have competed in every one since it started, and he has run marathons around the world in his kilt, from Amsterdam to Sydney.

Last year in Dublin he completed his 100th marathon, and he shows no signs of slowing down, with five events scheduled for this year, but Loch Ness is one of Kenneth’s favourites: “Loch Ness is something completely different, and I think if you are looking for a marathon that typifies Scotland, then this is it,” he recommends.

“At the start of the race, when the pipe band is playing, it’s almost like a scene out of Braveheart seeing people coming out of the heather to muster. You are more at one with nature, there’s no traffic, and you run on a road right at the side of the loch, which is wonderful.

“The views are the envy of any race organiser, plus a downhill start and flat finish make it a personal best course.”

Aound 9,000 runners are expected to take part in the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running on September 27.