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Lorna among top three females in Loch Ness ultra run – despite dog bite


By Alan Hendry

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Lorna Stanger shows her third-place female medal at the finishing line of the Loch Ness Ultra Marathon Challenge. Picture: Robert MacDonald / Northern Studios
Lorna Stanger shows her third-place female medal at the finishing line of the Loch Ness Ultra Marathon Challenge. Picture: Robert MacDonald / Northern Studios

Thurso endurance athlete Lorna Stanger took third place in the female section of the inaugural Loch Ness Ultra Marathon Challenge – despite being bitten by a dog along the way.

The weekend event covered an 80-mile route around the loch. Lorna's time of 20 hours, one minute and 15 seconds placed her 17th overall out of a field of 47 entries.

While delighted with her result, she was disappointed that she lost a lot of time after being bitten on the right thigh by a collie while running through Dell Estate farm around 20 miles from the end of the course.

In addition to her third-place female prize, the eventful run also earned her a not so welcome tetanus jab.

Lorna said: "I don't think I would have improved on my placing, even if I hadn't been bitten, but I probably would have finished about 90 minutes quicker. As I passed Dell Estate farm buildings there was a pack of four or five collies running round me and barking.

"I shooed them away, but one of them turned and came up behind me and bit my thigh. I didn't even see it coming.

"I had a look to see if anyone from the farm was about but I couldn't find anybody. I was a bit worried for the other runners and also cyclists who were taking part in a cycle event.

"But it seems I was the only one to get bitten.

"My leg was hurting a fair bit, but I carried on at a slower pace. I was worried about causing myself any more injury, as I am competing in the Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon in a month's time.

"When I reached the finish I was checked over by the medics and advised to get a tetanus jab when I got home.

"Other than the dog bite, I enjoyed the run – although it was a very tough, hilly course, probably one of the hardest I've done."

Lorna Stanger (third from left) sets off from Dores on Saturday night. Picture: Robert MacDonald / Northern Studios
Lorna Stanger (third from left) sets off from Dores on Saturday night. Picture: Robert MacDonald / Northern Studios

The ultra challenge, which started at Dores at 10pm on Saturday, was won by Inverness athlete Bryan Grant in a time of 15:10:17.

First and second places in the female category went to two competitors from California. Summer Frazier came home in 17:23:01 (ninth overall), while Traci Falbo achieved 18:39:24 (12th overall).

There were a total of 14 retirals over the length of the course.

Scotland’s newest long-distance trail event, created by Visit Inverness Loch Ness and sponsored by SSE Renewables, followed the Loch Ness 360 trail and featured the Loch Ness Marathon Challenge and Loch Ness Bike Challenge as well as the ultra marathon challenge.

The marathon challenge covered three marathons over the course of three days, totalling 129km and an ascent of more than 3000m along the Great Glen Way and South Loch Ness Trail. Alternatively, participants could opt to take part in one or two of the marathons.

The ultra marathon challenge covered the three marathons but with a time limit of 24 hours, while the bike challenge covered the distance the following day.

The event was originally planned for May 2020 but was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.

A total of 450 people signed up for the events from across Scotland, the UK and around the world.


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