The 17th annual Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running set to take place on Sunday 23 September is gearing up to welcome 8000 runners from across the globe. Over half of marathon participants are travelling from outside Scotland - from countries as far afield as Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, South Africa and United States of America.
Over 4,000 runners have signed up to the UK’s most scenic marathon, which starts between Fort Augustus and Whitebridge before following a spectacular route alongside south-side of Loch Ness into Inverness. Runners will also take to the streets of the Highland capital during the Baxters River Ness 10K, 10K Corporate Challenge and River Ness 5K; there is also the popular Wee Nessie kids’ race for under 5s. Although entry has now closed for the marathon and 10K events, there will be limited entries available on a first come, first served basis to the 5K and Wee Nessie over the weekend.
The Festival of Running is once again hosted by Scottish television and radio presenter Bryan Burnett with the two-day festival weekend promising a packed family friendly agenda. The weekend kicks off on Saturday 22 September with the Runners Café, new for 2018, and Scotland’s largest running Expo dedicated to runners, open from 10am to 6pm in Bught Park, Inverness, with free entry for all. On Sunday 23 September runners and spectators can enjoy the Baxters Food & Drink Fayre showcasing Highland food and drink producers, children’s activities, pipe band and live music.
This year, Craig Clarke from Paisley is running the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon in a bid to set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon wearing full Highland dress. He already holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest half marathon in Highland dress and is also hoping to raise £2000 for Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital in Glasgow.
The 5K and Wee Nessie races offer the perfect opportunity for those looking to take on a new challenge with family or friends whilst enjoying a great day out. The youngest participant set to complete in the 2018 Wee Nessie race is a mere three months old and the oldest 5K runner at this year’s event is a grand 86 years old. A third of all 5K entries are from Scottish schools and youth clubs.
Race director Malcolm Sutherland, commented: “We’re so excited about welcoming everyone to this year’s Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running weekend. The event has been growing in popularity year on year with runners of all abilities and age groups represented. Last year the event raised a total of £608,200 for charities and this year we’re hopeful that even more will be raised.”
Audrey Baxter, executive chairman and Group CEO at Baxters, said: “We’re extremely proud to be the title sponsor of the Loch Ness Marathon once more in what is a very special year for us as we celebrate our 150th anniversary.
“Just as we have evolved through four generations of family ownership, we’ve seen the event grow and grow in this spectacular location in the Scottish Highlands, which we have been lucky enough to call home since 1868. We applaud everyone taking part in the race, from the novice joggers, to the seasoned runners, and families of all ages, and would like to thank our employees, especially those running on the big day, for their continued support.”
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “EventScotland is delighted to be once again supporting the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running, one of the biggest mass participation events in Scotland’s sporting calendar.
“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and in the Baxters Festival of Running we have a fantastic sporting spectacle that showcases the region’s stunning scenery as well as helping to deliver a strong visitor economy by welcoming thousands of runners of abilities both locally and from around the world every September.”
For more information about the 2018 Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running – including temporary traffic restrictions, visit: www.lochnessmarathon.com.