A NEW Baxters Loch Ness Marathon finish-line offers potential for runners to achieve faster times for this year’s event and a new finish arena will provide a better experience for everyone attending the Festival of Running on Sunday 3 October 2010.
To allow for improved facilities for participants and spectators, organisers of the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running have announced that the event finish line will be moved closer to the city centre, with runners crossing the finish line adjacent to the River Ness at Bught Park, Inverness.
A tented Festival village will be created around the finish line in Bught Park. As well as runner facilities, it will provide the focus for the Festival, including an exciting programme of live entertainment and activities for all to welcome both local runners and those travelling to the Highlands.
Although the finish line is the only major change to the course, a corresponding move in the start-line at Whitebridge on the south-side of Loch Ness will provide a faster start for the marathon, which is expected will generate faster times overall. A similar move in the start and finish lines for the Baxters River Ness 10K will also apply.
Runners are reminded that guaranteed entries for the 2010 Baxters Loch Ness Marathon must be submitted by midnight on 1 May 2010. To enter now or for more information, runners should visit www.lochnessmarathon.com.
There are marathon places available for charity, club and overseas runners until 13 September, as well as places in the Baxters River Ness 10K, the 10K Corporate Challenge and the Baxters River Ness 5K Fun Run.
Over 7800 people, including former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, entered the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running in 2009. The removal of the ballot system continues to prove popular with runners, and organisers expect a further increase in entries for the event on 3 October 2010.
Event & Race director, Malcolm Sutherland, said: “This new location for the finish line and Festival Village will provide additional space for the event, and therefore greater flexibility for developing participant and spectator facilities.
“As well as offering an enhanced experience on the day, we expect the new start line for the marathon to give a faster course, encouraging both local runners and those travelling to the Highlands for the event with the opportunity to achieve a faster time! With the popularity of the event continuing to grow, Bught Park offers a great location for us to accommodate the increased number of runners and participants on the day.”
Malcolm continued: “I’d like to remind everyone that entries are open for all other events in the Festival until 13 September – the Baxters River Ness 10K, the 10K Corporate Challenge and the Baxters River Ness 5K Fun Run. With entry up for all events again this year, I’d encourage anyone thinking of entering to get their entry in as soon as possible to be sure of a place.”
Although entry for guaranteed places closes soon, charity places are still available for this year’s event until 13 September – visit www.lochnessmarathon.com/charities for full details of how to enter and combine running with supporting your favourite cause. There are five nominated charities for the event (Alzheimer Scotland, Breast Cancer Care, Highland Hospice, Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie Cancer Care), and over 35 other associated national and Scottish charities. Club runner and overseas places are also available until 13 September.
Paul Bush, OBE, chief operating officer of EventScotland, National Events Agency, said: “We are delighted to support the Loch Ness Marathon for the fifth consecutive year. Following record entries in 2009, the event is now the third largest marathon in the UK providing a significant economic impact for the area. With this year’s new finish and faster route, which showcases the beautiful landscape around Loch Ness, it is sure to be as popular as ever.”
Fiona Rennie, a member of Carnegie Harriers, has run all eight Baxters Loch Ness Marathons to date and anticipates completing the ninth in 2010. Fiona said: “I really enjoy running the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon – it always seems to be good weather and there are beautiful views across the loch.
“This event attracts a real mix of serious club athletes and charity fundraisers: for some people this may be the only marathon they will ever run and it’s a huge challenge for them and to see them succeed is inspirational. I’m looking forward to the new finish line being closer to the centre of Inverness and, in particular, of not having to circle around the stadium hearing the finish tannoy for some time before coming round the corner into the event!”
Charlie Forbes, chair of Scottish Athletics North District Road and Cross Country Commission, and chair of the Inverness Harriers, said: “The Festival was beginning to outgrow its previous site and this new arena at the riverside will certainly be a welcome move benefiting runners and spectators alike. As well as being more picturesque, it will add to the quality of the event.”
David Kirkland, runner-up in the 2009 Baxters Loch Ness Marathon, said: ““I’ve raced marathons all over the world and would rate Loch Ness as amongst the best for organisation and atmosphere, I’ve always had a great experience and would probably run faster if only the scenery wasn’t quite as distracting!”
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