A record number of runners have registered to start the 2012 Global Energy Inverness Half Marathon this weekend, the largest number of competitors in the 28-year history of the event.
The race will be held in the Highland capital this Sunday, 11th March with over 3000 runners taking part in three events on the day: the Half Marathon, the 5K Fun Run and the 5K Team Attack, a new corporate challenge for 2012.
Event organisers are delighted with the largest field ever for the event which this year includes 32 different nationalities with runners travelling from as far afield as Ethiopia, USA, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands and Norway to take part.
Race Director Malcolm Sutherland of Caledonian Concepts said: “We are thrilled to have such an exciting line-up this year, including a top class international field and a strong team of elite domestic athletes. We’re expecting even faster times than last year, and anyone looking to win the men’s and women’s trophies and pick up the £1000 cash prizes will certainly have to put in a quick time.”
Big names on the day include last year’s male and female winners, Andrew Douglas and Melissa Whyte, who will be defending their titles, Ethiopian Yared Hagos who has a best time of 1:03:31 set in last year’s Great North Run on Tyneside, and Glasgow-based former Eritrean athletes Tesgai Tewelde and Teweldeberhan Mengisteab who will also be among the contenders for the top prize.
The quality line-up also includes City of Aberdeen 10Km champion Ben Hukins (Aberdeen AAC), Banchory’s Great Britain mountain running international Robbie Simpson (Deeside Runners) and Scottish internationals Ross Houston, Robert Russell and John Newsom (all Central AC).
Global Energy Group Communications Director, Alastair Kennedy, commented: “As race sponsor for the first time, it’s really encouraging to see so many people from around the world getting involved in this prestigious event in the Scottish running calendar.
“We’re looking forward to a closely fought Half Marathon race, and to lending our vocal support to the various Global teams which have entered the first ever 5K Team Attack. I know they have all been training hard, so they’re likely to be in a competitive spirit on the day.
“We hope all those taking part have a wonderful day, and that a lot of money will be raised for worthwhile causes, including the event’s chosen charity The Archie Foundation which is helping to raise money for the provision of top quality hospital facilities for young and less fortunate children.”
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “It is exciting to see a record number of entries for the Inverness Half Marathon, including a number of elite athletes from Scotland and around the world. Scotland is the perfect stage for events, which is supported by the number of international participants in this year’s event with 32 different nationalities represented.”
And funny man Fred MacAulay has chosen the Inverness Half Marathon as his first long distance race. Having previously run a charity 10K Fred is familiar with the thrill of crossing the line as part of a crowd, and knows how much fun those taking part in the 5K Fun Run and 5K Team Attack events will be having.
However moving onto the longer distance, he is hoping to tackle the challenge on a more competitive level, with a target time of around two hours. He won’t, however, be expecting to take home the sizeable winners’ purse of £1,000 – one of the bigger prizes for a race of this length.
“The only way I’ll be getting my hands on that prize is if I have enough energy left to mug the guy afterwards,” he joked, acknowledging the large number of serious runners who are kicking off their 2012 competitive calendar in Inverness.
And while Fred himself might not expect to be a big winner on the day, he is sure that the official Global Energy Inverness Half Marathon charity, The ARCHIE Foundation, which helps to improve the lives of sick children and their families across the North of Scotland, will be reaping the rewards.
The Global Energy Inverness Half Marathon starts at 13.00 at Bught Park, the 5K Team Attack at 13.15 and the 5K Fun Run at 13.20 and all races finish on the race track in Queens Park Stadium. Friends, family and other non-racers are encouraged to come and show their support for the runners on the day and get involved in enjoying an alternative day at the races. The prize-givings will take place in the Sports Hall at Inverness Sports Centre at 14.30 (5K Team Attack) and 15.15 (Half Marathon).
Entries have now closed for the Half Marathon and 5K Team Attack, but limited 5K Fun Run entries will be available on the day during registration at the Inverness Sports Centre between 10.00-12.30.
There will be a number of road closures in effect during the event on Sunday to ensure the safety of participants and spectators. For full details visit www.invernesshalfmarathon.co.uk/event-info/spectators-residents-info/