Banchory’s mountain-running international Robbie Simpson completed a hat-trick of victories in the Detox 10km at Lumphanan when he defeated a field of 301 runners with a winning time of 32min 51sec.
The Deeside Runners athlete finished well clear of club-mate and four-time winner Dan Whitehead, while Aberdeen’s Oleg Chepelin (Shettleston Harriers) was in third position. Leading British triathlete Stephen Bayliss, who was expected to challenge, pulled out with a foot inspection on the eve of the race.
Simpson was satisfied with his performance in the January 2 race despite the time being slower than he had hoped.
He said: “I was on my own pretty much all the way and I found it hard coming back into the wind in the second half.
“It was strange because some miles were very fast and then the next would be a lot slower.
“I need to fit in some more races to get a bit sharper.”
Bruce Moroney (Metro Aberdeen), who was runner-up in the inaugural Lumphanan race in 2004, was first home in the over-50 age group when finishing ninth overall.
Rhona Auckland, 18, became the youngest winner of the women’s event when completing the course in a personal best of 38:46, which is the second quickest time in the nine-year history of the event.
Only 14 men were quicker than the Banchory Stonehaven AC runner, who knocked 3:33 off her previous best 10km time set when finishing runner-up last year.
Auckland, who will represent Scotland in next weekend’s Celtic international cross-country meeting at Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park, was delighted with her performance.
She said: “I’m very pleased. I took the lead at the top of the hill after about 1km and it’s great to get a good time. I’m now looking forward to Edinburgh although I’m not sure who my opponents will be.”
Former world long-distance triathlon champion Bella Bayliss, who comes from Tarland but lives with husband Stephen in Gran Canaria was runner-up in 39:26.
It was Bella’s first race since giving birth to the couple’s first child, Charlie, at the beginning of August.
She said: “I’ve been doing quite a bit of running in training but I’ll now be focusing on getting fit for a return to triathlons later this year.
“It was good to be able to do a race back here as I haven’t competed in this area for a long time.
“It’s just a pity Stephen couldn’t take part as well.”
Veronique Oldham, last year’s winner, had to settle for third position, although her time of 40:01 was 56sec quicker than last year.
The Aberdeen-based Belgian athlete was also first home in the over-40 age divison.