A determined runner who missed out on the Loch Lomond 10k for the third time travelled from York to complete the route - and has declared himself the 2020 winner.

John Zimnoch who said he is a “born rebel” was disappointed when he missed out last year having stubbed his toe getting into the shower leaving him badly bruised and in excruciating pain.

His disappointment was compounded earlier this year when the decision was taken to postpone the event scheduled for June until September.

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And the 75-year-old said he was gutted to find out the rescheduled date earlier this month was scrapped altogether.

But not to be beaten, he kept his reservation in Balloch, travelling from his native York and took part in the race anyway.

Joker John told us: “Wife Ingrid and I had such a lovely time in Balloch and, determined to finish the job, I entered again for the 2020 run.

“I didn’t mind the postponement to September but it really ticked me off when it was cancelled.”

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In making the decision to complete the route on September 5, the rescheduled date, John said: “I’m a born rebel and very contrary, it appealed to my devious mind and sense of humour, plus I was mad it was postponed and didn’t want to mess about with hotel bookings again and we had enjoyed being in Balloch and the countryside around.

“Since February 13 I have trained for the run, my log showing 49 miles walked, running 214k so you can imagine my (and other’s) disappointment when the run was postponed to September and then cancelled till 2021.

“I am not built for quitting so we came to Balloch the weekend of the postponed run and I loved it, running by the Leven, route map in hand.”

And when we asked if he had followed the exact route, John jibed: “I can’t say as it might compromise my getting a medal but yes I went right down the river.”

John is an experienced runner but really got into it later in life after agreeing, while having a liquid lunch in Canada with a friend when he stayed out there, to sign up for the Chicago Marathon back in 2002. In sobriety the next day, he was shocked to find out what he agreed to but “never one to go back on a promise” carried out the task in hand.

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John told us: “I like to run in places that interest me and that I have never been to before that have races. Doing a run you see more than just walking around. There is excitement shared with all the other runners and we all like getting medals.

“It is also an incentive to train when a goal is in mind.”

He has also chalked up runs in the baking hot Mojave Desert, San Diego, Virginia Beach and San Francisco adding: “I ran over the Golden Gate Bridge and was excited to do so, but the view is crap as you run on the road and the pavement and railings are higher. You can’t even see the sea underneath or Sean Connery on Alcatraz.”

He is also scheduled to take part in the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon in San Antonio, Texas in December but is resigned to the fact that that will also likely be cancelled.

But reflecting on his Loch Lomond 10k victory and pleading to event organisers, John added: “I came first. Admittedly nobody else ran but it’s still an achievement to be recognised. My winner’s trophy, finishers medal and the t-shirt would be nice.”

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