The fifth Strathearn Marathon was another keenly contested affair, with a whole clutch of terrific performances on what is becoming established as one of the friendliest and most scenic marathon routes in the country.

Conditions on Sunday were cool and damp, with constant drizzle until mid-afternoon.

A record field of runners, along with friends and family, made their way to Cultybraggan Camp, with everyone from marathon novices running their first marathon, to experienced runners with many marathons under their belts.

Ray McCurdy, of the 100 Marathon Club, was running his 200th marathon, and the club marked the occasion with a specially baked cake, presented by local adventurer and guest starter Mark Beaumont.

Ray went on to finish the race in 5.10.55, his best time for two years.

2013 winner Roger van Gompel of Dundee Hawkhill Harriers was back to have another stab at the race, and was in a tight pack with Stephen Porteous (Garscube Harriers) and Rich Myers (Jeddah Road Runners) at the 18 mile mark.

Roger was able to make a decisive break on the South Crieff Road, to finish in a time of 2.45.31, with a comfortable gap back to Stephen, finishing in a time of 2.48.20, and Rich, in 2.49.42.

In the women’s race, 2015 winner Fiona Ramsay (Cani-Fit) was within 1 second of her course record time, to finish in 3.06.00, ahead of Anne Hartmann (PH Running Club) in 3.11.12. Vicki Forman was third in a time of 3.16.28.

As well as attracting runners from all over Scotland and further afield, there was plenty of local representation, with trophies for first male and female runners, supported by Graham and Finlayson Solicitors of Crieff.

Ben Murphy, of Strathearn Harriers, was making his marathon debut and was first local man, finishing in 3.15.58, in 19th position, and first local woman was Anne Hartmann.

Doug Flint made a late decision to run following his successful outing at the Highlander Mountain Marathon the previous weekend to finish as second local, and second local woman was fellow Harrier Wendy Taylor who clocked an impressive 3.23.08.

Wendy’s time was more than five minutes faster than her previous best, set in April at the London Marathon, to establish a new club record time.

The club was also delighted to have former club captain Phil Tipping running the marathon this year.

The Strathearn Marathon was Phil’s brainchild, and he should be proud of the way the race has developed such a positive reputation within the Scottish running community in such a sort time. Phil finished in a very good 3.44.21.

Women’s winner Fiona Ramsay posted her thanks on the Marathon Facebook page 'Thank you to everyone involved in the 2016 marathon! My favourite race ever! First class from start to finish, not to mention the cakes after, squirrel medal and a celebrity to award the prizes. Can't wait for 2017!'

As is always the case with Harriers races, the runners were superbly supported by the volunteers at Cultybraggan and out on the course, who gave up their time and whose efforts were greatly appreciated by the runners.

Extra support came from the Comrie Pipe Band, who popped up in all sorts of unexpected places around the route and gave the runners inspiration and a great sense of occasion.

Catering was splendidly provided by the Comrie Allotments, with their cakes getting special praise from the runners and further support was generously given by Graham and Finlayson, Crieff Hydro Leisure, Highland Spring, CDT, Comrie First Response, and the Fruit Shop, Comrie.

Race photography was provided by Gordon Donnachie, and PA support was given by the irrepressible George Carson. Post-race massage was provided by Karen Nicholl and Keith Carr.

Next year’s Strathearn Marathon is provisionally booked for June 11, so there’s plenty of time to work out a training programme and start getting the miles done!

The next Harriers event is the Crieff 10k, on Sunday July 10, starting at Morrison’s Academy sports ground at Dallerie.

As well as the adults race, there is a Juniors 1 mile race for 9 to 15 year olds. The main race starts at 11am, and the Juniors race at 11.10.

See the club website www.strathearnharriers.org.uk for details of both races.