With a new sponsor, new corporate team challenge, new nominated charity and endorsement from top Scots comedian and presenter, Fred MacAulay, all promising to revitalise the event in its 27th year, organisers are calling for a new generation of runners to join in and take up the challenge.
The 2012 Inverness Half Marathon will be sponsored by Global Energy Group and will take place on Sunday, 11th March. As the first event in its class in the Scottish running calendar, it will offer serious athletes and enthusiastic amateurs that extra motivation needed to keep up their training over the winter season.
The event takes place in the heart of the Highland capital of Inverness with runners competing along the banks of the picturesque River Ness and in the shadow of the city’s imposing castle. Participants can choose a race option suited to their own style – from the 13 miles of the Half Marathon course to the popular 5K Fun Run or the inaugural 5K Team Attack event. Entry is now open and early bird entry fees are available until 30th November.
Race Director Malcolm Sutherland of Caledonian Concepts explained that they hoped the extended programme would amplify the appeal to existing runners and encourage new entrants. He added that the new sponsorship deal represented a real opportunity for the event to advance and said: “We are excited to be welcoming Global Energy Group as the title sponsor. We believe there is a great synergy between their company and the event, and we are confident that we will be able to work well together to develop even more exciting race programmes in the coming years.
“This year we want to encourage more people to come along, give it a go and discover the delights of competing at a whole new level. Anyone wanting to take part in any of the races can now enter online at www.invernesshalfmarathon.co.uk.”
His sentiments were echoed by broadcaster and funny man Fred MacAulay, who has already signed up for the event and will be helping to launch the programme today (Wednesday, 12th October). Speaking before the launch, Fred explained that recent charity challenges had given him a taste for pushing his own personal limits and encouraged others to do the same.
He said: “In the last couple of years I have kayaked the Caledonian Canal and climbed Kilimanjaro, so this time I have decided to stay at ground level and keep my feet on terra firma by taking part in the Global Energy Inverness Half Marathon 2012.
“I’ve always kept fit, but in the last few years I have started to do things that take me out of my comfort zone. So from my own experience I can tell anyone considering taking part that they will find it immensely satisfying to achieve their goal and help and motivate others around them.
“This is a great opportunity to get involved and help to raise money for The ARCHIE Foundation, I’m looking forward to it.”
Runners have the choice of setting a challenge for themselves or competing against friends and colleagues for personal satisfaction and prizes – male and female Half Marathon winners will walk away with £1000 each. Incentives for other categories and races will be announced in the run up to the event and there is also the opportunity to raise funds for charity along the way.
Last year’s event saw competitors raise a total of more than £43,000 for a range of good causes, and this year’s Global Energy Inverness Half Marathon will be promoting The ARCHIE Foundation as its official charity with participants who choose to fundraise for this cause helping to improve the lives of sick children and their families across the North of Scotland.
The ARCHIE Foundation Fundraising Manager Allana Mackay said: “It is absolutely amazing that we are being supported by the Global Energy Inverness Half Marathon in 2012 – and we are delighted to have been chosen.
“Fundraising for The ARCHIE foundation as part of this event will provide a real boost to our £1m appeal that will be used to redevelop the children’s ward at Raigmore Hospital into a world class centre for sick children as well as other projects that will benefit children and families across the north of Scotland.”
Global Energy Group Communications Director, Alastair Kennedy, commented: “We are delighted to be the main sponsor of this prestigious event in the local running calendar. We would encourage as many people as possible to come along and enjoy this event and get involved in helping good causes, particularly such a fantastic cause as The ARCHIE Foundation.
“I think we all understand the importance of well-being and a healthy lifestyle. Therefore running to keep fit as well as helping to raise money for the provision of top quality hospital facilities for young and less fortunate children, is something we can all appreciate.
“I know the various companies within the Global Energy Group are already winding up for winning the Team Attack challenge …. and so we are throwing down the gauntlet at this early stage to any companies out there who want to take us on to get online and enter!”
The local economy is also set to be a winner, with the day-long race programme’s runners and spectators expected to inject significant income into the area. In 2011 the races attracted entries from across Scotland, the UK and further afield, with more than eight out of ten of those who participated saying they would return to compete again. It is hoped that the prize money on offer this year will encourage even more high quality athletes from around the country to take part alongside other competitors, fundraisers, junior running clubs and schoolchildren.
The new Team Attack race will bring an additional competitive aspect to the event, with prizes also up for grabs for the winning team. Businesses are encouraged to field four-person teams to train and challenge for the fastest cumulative time over the 5K course.