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12 MARCH 2017

RACE ENTRIES CLOSE AT MIDNIGHT, TUESDAY 26th FEBRUARY

Buckie GP Lewis Walker will have a major say in who wins next month’s Global Energy Inverness half marathon even although he’s not running in the Highland race, entries for which close at midnight on Tuesday 26th February.

Walker, who represented the Scottish Schools team as a middle distance runner in the mid 1970’s and is still an active competitor in local events, has recently become heavily involved in coaching, and a number of the leading entrants for the Inverness event are being guided by the 54 year-old Aberdeen-born doctor.

Walker said:”I started off by helping Mark Mitchell, the Forres middle distance runner, and things just seem to have snowballed from there.

“Over the winter I have been advising Joe Symonds, the Great Britain mountain running international. He is competing at Inverness as part of his preparations for the Rotterdam marathon in April when he’ll be trying to get a Commonwealth Games qualifying time.

“Joe is probably fitter than he has ever been. He has done some really tough training sessions and it will be interesting to see how he performs.”

North league champion Kyle Greig (Forres Harriers) is another athlete who has come under Lewis’s wing in recent months.

Walker said: “Kyle has been running much better over the past few months and he’s getting his times down so I’d expect him to do well at Inverness as this will be the first half marathon he has prepared for properly.”

Dougie Selman (Corstorphine AC), who was Scottish indoor 1500m champion in 2008 and 2009, is another athlete benefitting from Walker’s expertise.

The Edinburgh-based runner is to make his half marathon debut at Inverness along with his training partner and Corstorphine clubmate Michael Crawley, the reigning Scottish universities and colleges cross country champion.

Selman hopes to run faster than 67 minutes, which would put him in contention for the £1,000 top prize in what promises to be an extremely competitive race.

Walker said: “It’s good that there will be a group of them working together at the front of the race. Hopefully that will help them all get decent performances.”

Race Director Malcolm Sutherland is delighted with the quality of elite entrants but is equally keen to ensure that the event caters not just for the best athletes, but for everyone.

He said: “It’s great that the front end of the race is shaping up so well and that we’ll have a number of Scotland’s best runners taking part.

“But we welcome participants of all levels of ability and experience and it looks as though more than 2,500 will take part in this year’s race. There’s still time to get a place, but entries close at midnight on Tuesday 26th February, so there’s not much time left.”

The leading men and women will be competing for a prize purse worth £3,200 and voucher awards will be made to the top veterans in the over-40, over-50 and over-60 age groups. There’s also a team competition with prizes for the first three men’s clubs and the first two women’s sides.

Two other races will be held in conjunction with the half marathon and places are still available in both. The 5K Team Attack, is open to clubs, businesses, or even groups of friends who can enter teams of four. Prizes will be based on the cumulative time of the four runners. And the 5K fun run, open to individuals, is also open until midnight on Tuesday.

The Archie Foundation is the official race charity.

Entries for the half marathon, 5Km and Team Attack can all be made by visiting www.invernesshalfmarathon.co.uk

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