An enthusiastic crowd turned out in fine, albeit slightly windy, Highland weather to watch over 3000 runners compete in the Global Energy Inverness Half Marathon, 5K Team Attack and 5K Fun Run, the largest field ever in the 28 year history of the event.
At the end of 13.1 miles it was a double win for Ethopian runners Yared Hagos and Hana Abo.
Hagos stamped his class on proceedings by taking an early lead in the blustery conditions before going on to win the men’s competition in 1hr 5min, which is the third fastest time in the event’s 28 year history.
His compatriot, Abo, who was competing outside of Ethiopia for the first time, knocked five minutes off her previous best time to win the women’s prize by completing the course in 1hr 15min 4sec.
Inverness Harrier’s Melissa Whyte, the women’s elite winner for the past two years had to settle for second place this year, with last year’s men’s winner from Inverclyde AC coming in third in the men’s event.
BBC’s Fred MacAulay joined the half marathon runners to compete his first ever event at this distance, finishing in a respectable 2:12:05. He said: “It was as tough as I imagined it would be. I’d not managed to train much in the weeks running up to the run and I’d been warned that the last few kilometres would be testing. They were!!
“Well done to all the people who overtook me and gave me encouragement. And congratulations to everyone who ran! Will I be back to do it again? Depends on how I feel tomorrow morning! I think these aches might be around for a while!!”
The inaugural corporate challenge 5K Team Attack was a fiercely fought contest. And, appropriately, the first ever winners of this race were “Global Construction ‘A’ Team”. Led home by Craig Robb, who came fourth, they crossed the finishing line with an aggregate time of 1:42:13 from their four scoring runners, with Michael Spence, Kevin Williamson and Elaine Wilson completing the team.
The winners narrowly beat their rival Global Energy Group team colleagues “The Half Marathon was Too Long” who came in second with a time of 1:43:05 and in third place was “Isleburn’s Jemma and the Geriatrics” with a time of 1:43:21.
Race Director Malcolm Sutherland of Caledonian Concepts said: “The inaugural 5K Team Attack corporate challenge was well supported by local Inverness and wider Highland companies and will undoubtedly get a lot bigger in years to come. Next year we hope that even more company colleagues will see the benefit of training and running as part of a team, establishing pride in the team’s potential, and encouraging other colleagues to turn out on race day to cheer their team on and enjoying the activities centred around the start/finish area, make this concept a winner for everyone.”
This year’s 5K Fun Run attracted over 1000 runners ranging from school children, youth sports groups, mums and dads and friends as well as a few grandparents joining in the race. Many ran for their own enjoyment and personal challenge, while others took on a more competitive spirit. Coming first in the boys and girls events respectively were Stephen MacKay and Jenny Bannerman, both of Inverness Harriers.