PRIMA donna may not always have positive connotations – but for one long-distance runner it was manna from heaven to hear an enthusiastic crowd chanting it in her direction.
For it meant former Tain Royal Academy pupil Seana Forbes was "first woman" – and on her way to an impressive win in a new long-distance race in one of Italy’s most beautiful areas.
Ms Forbes (26) saw off hundreds of competitors to be the first woman across the line in the inaugural 30-kilometre Lake Garda Xmas Trail Race.
And, just to put the icing on the cake of a phenomenal Christmas, she followed it up with a second achievement a little closer to home, when she beat the record for fastest female around the course of the recently introduced Alness Park Run.
She racked up a time of 19 minutes and 48 seconds on Saturday, during a festive family visit to Ross-shire.
Although she enjoyed sporting success when she was younger – captaining Tain Royal Academy’s first-year basketball team to a memorable Scottish Schools Cup victory in 2003 – she is a relative newcomer to the world of competitive running.
Ms Forbes only got into the sport after joining the online fitness app company Freeletics GmbH as a marketing manager three years ago.
Proud stepfather Tom Kissock said her achievements are the result of hard work and dedication.
"You can watch her emotional transformation [video] on YouTube, which has had 1.5 million views so far," he said.
"She has done amazingly well in a very short period and may be an inspiration for all of us who have overindulged over the festive season."
Ms Forbes now lives in Munich, Germany, having been born there before moving to Scotland as a toddler. Although she still considers herself to be Scottish, first and foremost, her base in Bavaria makes it easy for her to indulge her passion for distance mountain and marathon running all over southern Europe.
Her Lake Garda race started and finished in the town of Torbole and included a total climb of 1300 metres in the mountain paths above the world-famous beauty spot. No fewer than 500 racers took part, making her achievement all the more remarkable.
And she received top support from athletics fans enjoying the race – even if she was not initially sure what they were chanting as she sped by.
"Although fluent in German, Seana did not understand what the enthusiastic Italian crowd were meaning when they were shouting ‘prima donna’ – first woman – in the latter stages of the race," said Mr Kissock.
And, following her sporting success, she was able to enjoy a great family Christmas back in Ross-shire.
She spent the festive season with her German mother Karin, who is also originally from Munich, and Scottish stepfather at their home in Cullicudden along with two brothers and two-sisters.
Her eldest brother, David, also flew in from Nashville, Tennessee, where he works for construction machine giants Caterpillar, to attend the family gathering.
And her participation in the Alness Park Run was a true family affair, with her three siblings joining her on the track.
Following Christmas with her family, her proud step-father says she hopes to continue her racing success in the new year – and maybe secure a few more podium places in 2018.