Harley Davidson, from Inverness, is the 2011 winner of the Gerald Cooper Memorial Cup, presented by Highland Solicitors Property Centre (HSPC) to the first resident from the Highlands across the line in the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon.
Competing in his first marathon, Harley (26) set a time of 2 hours 58 minutes and 39 seconds, securing sixth place overall in addition to being first Highland finisher.
Speaking at the finish, Harley Davidson commented:
“I have been running for three years and have been a member of the Inverness Harriers for the last 18 months. This was my first marathon, although I have done an ultra event which includes a marathon and a cycle element.
“Trying to finish the marathon in under three hours was enough to push me on when I was feeling at my lowest. All the support along the way gave me a real boost, too.
“I had been doing between 12 and 25 miles a week and have also been trying to keep to a diet, but that has been the hardest part. The diet will now be off for a couple of days and I’m also looking for a good rest!”
The Gerald Cooper Memorial Cup commemorates Gerald Cooper, HSPC’s former chairman who died in 2008. In addition to holding the trophy for the year, the winner receives an engraved quaich and £1,000 to present to the charity of their choice.
Dawn Cooper presented the award in memory of her late husband:
“The Baxters’ Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running is always such a fantastic event. The atmosphere is incredible throughout the day with people of all ages and abilities challenging themselves in the races.
“Then there are the supporters cheering the runners on along the route, event officials and volunteers working hard to make it all happen and run smoothly and everyone in party mood. It’s an occasion not to be missed and I love being a part of it every year.
“I am lucky to be able to play different roles during the day as a runner in the 5K, a volunteer with my guide unit helping at the finish line handing out T-shirts and goody bags and a participant in the awards presentations in the afternoon.
“I am always amazed at the dedication and determination of the marathon runners especially and I have great admiration for them all, not just the winners. Everyone is giving of their best.
“The HSPC cup is a great way of recognising the success of a local runner and in the few years this has been presented the winners have chosen local charities to receive their award money. I am delighted that the Special Care Baby Unit at Raigmore is to benefit this year. Congratulations to Harley Davidson on his achievement!”
Of his famous name, Harley Davidson commented: “My dad was an enormous motorbike enthusiast and after having four girls naturally when I came along I had to be Harley Davidson. It can be frustrating at times, trying to explain that it is really my name, when nobody ever believes it is true!”