Etape Loch Ness sold out but places still available for cyclists willing to raise cash for charity partner Macmillan Cancer Support

 Closed-road cycling event Etape Loch Ness has joined forces with a leading cancer charity to offer places in the 2015 event. A limited number of slots are now available to cyclists who pledge to raise funds for the event’s official charity partner, Macmillan Cancer Support.

The sportive, which sold out within 72 hours of launching, takes place around the banks of the world famous loch on April 26. Riders can, however, secure one of the coveted slots by agreeing to raise a minimum of £100 for Macmillan.

Event director Malcolm Sutherland says Etape Loch Ness could offer the perfect solution to anyone vowing to get fit and do more for charity as part of their new year resolutions for 2015.

He adds, “It is open to people of all cycling abilities and in the inaugural event last year we had seasoned riders lining up along with first time participants. Everyone came with their own personal challenge, whether that was to record a great time or to raise money for charity.

“People are always more likely to stick to a new year resolution if they have a goal, so we are appealing to anyone who has put getting fit on the top of their list to consider joining us. The 67-mile course is an achievable distance - we had riders in their 70s easily complete the course last year - and a realistic fitness goal for those starting training now.

“Coupled with that, riders who take up one of the charity places will be able to complete the course knowing that they have made a real difference to Macmillan Cancer Support and the incredible work they do in the Highlands and beyond.”

Every day in the north of Scotland, 21 people are told that they have cancer and 11 people die. Incidence of cancer is a little higher in the Highlands than the UK average, and it is anticipated that figures will double over the next 20 years, with some 23,300 people being diagnosed in 2030.

In addition to its specialist nurses, Macmillan is involved in a number of projects across the Highlands. It is investing nearly £142,000 to fund a three-year NHS Highland project to support people at risk of developing or who have developed lymphoedema.

The project is raising awareness among health professionals in the community about the problems associated with lymphoedema post-surgery, and has produced clinical guidelines on care. Training and mentoring is being provided to health professionals in Fort William and Invergordon, so they can champion it among peers and ensure that people in the Highlands have the specialist support they need to cope with the condition.

Etape Loch Ness has fast become a favourite event with cyclists, with high demand for places when entries opened last November. 

The sportive is supported by EventScotland. Chief operating officer Paul Bush OBE says, “Etape Loch Ness is a spectacular event, which builds on the increasing popularity of mass-participation cycling events in the UK. Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and the stunning landscape and scenery will once again offer participants a beautiful yet challenging experience.”

Etape Loch Ness will start in Inverness city centre, snaking its way around the northern side of the loch on the A82, passing through Fort Augustus and onto the southern side where they will face one of the most challenging stages on the course – the King of the Mountain - a 4.8 mile climb which rises to 380m in height. The route will continue on the southern side of the loch before returning to finish in the Highland capital. 

For further information and to enter Etape Loch Ness, visit Regular updates will appear on social media through Facebook and Twitter @EtapeLochNess #etapeln15 

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