Thousands Take to the Highlands for Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running
Thousands of footsteps have echoed across Loch Ness during the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running today (Sunday, September 27). Runners from across the globe arrived in the Scottish Highlands to take in the breath-taking scenery of the event, joining in with thousands of Highlanders in a display of endurance and personal triumphs.
Alongside the marathon the Festival of Running included the River Ness 10k, 10k Corporate Challenge, River Ness 5k and Wee Nessie run for pre-school children.
Race director Malcolm Sutherland says, “From running novices taking part in their first ever 5k, to seasoned marathon pros taking on the iconic lochside route, the atmosphere and camaraderie amongst participants this year has been fantastic and we are incredibly pleased with the results.
“Loch Ness is one of the most recognisable destinations in the world, making it the perfect backdrop for huge sporting events like this. One of the very special things about this event is the way that it brings together people of different nationalities – whether they have travelled half way around the world or come from just down the road, they all bond together to share in a common purpose that crosses backgrounds, languages and abilities.
“We have been organising this event for many years now but I personally will never grow tired of the sight of thousands of runners gathered at the start, waiting to get underway in beautiful countryside. I think the only thing that beats it is seeing the looks of sheer delight on the faces of all our runners as they cross the finish line, having won their own personal challenges.
“The runners this year have once again given generously to good causes the length and breadth of the country, and we are very proud to be able to provide an event at which such a large sum of money is raised. We estimate around £100,000 will be raised for Macmillan Cancer Support, the official race charity, alone, not to mention our other affiliated charities and good causes that are close to the hearts of our runners.”
The marathon was won by Tarus Elly of Salford Harriers in a time of 2:25:19, with the first female Megan Crawford from Fife AC crossing the line in 2:44:50 - a new course record.
First Highlander home in the marathon was John Newsom of Inverness Harriers in 2:32:54, who was presented with the HSPC Gerald Cooper Memorial Trophy, along with a £1,000 donation a charity of his choice.
The winner of the Baxters River Ness 10k was Neil Renault from Edinburgh AC in 30:33, while the female title went to Shona McIntosh of the Hunters Bog Trotters club in 35:17. The 10k Corporate Challenge title went to 3 SCOTS Black Watch – based at the army barracks at Fort George - in an overall combined time of 2:46:47.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, says, “The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of running is always one of Scotland’s best-attended events and we are delighted that competitors and spectators alike turned out in their thousands again this year.
“Scotland is the perfect stage for outdoor events, thanks to its stunning natural landscapes, and we’re sure that runners of all ages and abilities took great delight in the breathtaking scenery provided by Loch Ness while raising funds for some very worthy causes in the process.”
Heather Metcalfe, chief financial officer of title sponsor Baxters, adds, “It has been an absolute pleasure to represent Baxters at the Event Village today and to watch thousands of runners cross the line after so many months of hard work and preparation.
“We have healthy living at the very heart of what we do as a company, whether that be through developing innovative and nutritional products or supporting our staff to develop a more active lifestyle. To that end, the event represents a perfect partner for Baxters because our values are so closely linked.
“We have been the title sponsor for the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running for well over a decade, and in that time we have proudly watched as it has grown into an event with a truly international feel and worldwide appeal. Just like Baxters, the event is a global brand that continues to go from strength to strength.”
Entry for the 2016 Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running, which takes place on October 2, open tomorrow (Monday, September 28). Find out more at www.lochnessmarathon.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/lochnessmarathon and on Twitter @nessmarathon