This year’s Global Energy Inverness ½ Marathon has attracted another record number of runners including some top distance runners and a couple of strong Ethiopians who will line up to compete for the ½ Marathon itself.
The race will be held in the Highland capital this Sunday, 17th March when over 3250 runners are scheduled to take part in the three events on the day: the Global Energy Inverness ½ Marathon, the 5K Fun Run and the 5K Team Attack.
Race Director Malcolm Sutherland is looking forward to what promises to be an exciting day of action.
He said: “It’s wonderful that we have so many quality athletes taking part and I’m sure we’ll see some terrific performances.
“But throughout the field we can look forward to seeing runners of all abilities trying to set new personal best times and enjoying the thrill of taking part.
“Aside from the 2,000-plus participants in the ½ Marathon we also have more than 1,000 people taking part in the 5K fun run and 25 teams taking part in the 5K Team Attack.
“More than a third of the 5K Fun Run entries are from Highland schools and youth clubs, which is absolutely brilliant as we are keen to involve as many young people as possible.
“There’s still a chance for people to run as we are accepting a limited number of 5K entries on the day.”
Joe Symonds is one of the favourites to win Sunday’s Global Energy Inverness ½ Marathon which has attracted a field of more than 2,000 participants, including many of Scotland’s top distance runners and some strong Ethiopians.
The Inverness-based doctor goes into the race hoping to clock a fast time to boost his confidence ahead of next month’s Rotterdam Marathon in which he’s aiming to crack the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games qualifying standard of 2hr 19mins.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to competing this weekend. I do a lot of my training on my own, so it will be great to get into a competitive race and just enjoy running against others.
“It will be an important race for me, not just to assess how fit I am, but, hopefully, it will also be a confidence booster ahead of Rotterdam.”
Symonds’ quickest half marathon time is 67min 39secs which he set at the Great North Run between Newcastle and South Shields in 2007, while last year he clocked 68:24 to finish seventh at Inverness.
He said: “I’d like to think I can get a new personal best time this weekend. On the basis of what I’ve been doing in training I reckon I should be running under 67 minutes.
“If there’s a group of us at the front that will make it a bit easier to run well.”
Symonds showed good form last month when finishing third behind Glasgow-based Ethiopian Wegene Tafese and Robbie Simpson (Deeside Runners) in the Scottish cross country championships.
He said: “I was very pleased with that result as it showed my training was going well. I have never placed so highly in these championships before.”
The Great Britain mountain running international will face some strong opposition on Sunday, led by Ethiopian Hailu Million.
Million has never raced in Scotland before but he finished seventh in the Bath Half Marathon earlier this month when he recorded a time of 66:28.
The African will be keen to emulate the achievement of his compatriot, Yared Hagos, who won last year’s Inverness race in 65min.
Alastair Kennedy, Global Energy Group Communications Director said he was looking forward to a thrilling race. He commented “With such a strong line-up in the ½ Marathon and a record number of people taking part in the 5K Fun Run and the 5K Team Attack, it’s shaping up to be an exciting day for participants and supporters alike.
“As race sponsor for a second year, we’re delighted to see numbers increasing year on year. And we’re delighted that the ARCHIE Foundation is the nominated charity again. It’s such a worthwhile local cause. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for sunshine on Sunday in the hope that many people will achieve PBs on the day. We wish all runners in all races good luck.”
A number of other Scots will fancy their chances of claiming the £1,000 prize which goes to the winner of the Global Energy Inverness ½Marathon.
Ross Houston (Central AC) returns to Inverness hoping to match the victory he achieved in last September’s Loch Ness Marathon.
Houston, who also has Commonwealth Games aspirations, has a best time of 65:50 set in Denmark last summer.
North cross country league winner Kyle Greig (Forres Harriers) is keen to make his mark while others who certainly cannot be ruled out include John Newsom (Central AC), Mark Pollard (Inverclyde AC), Stephen Trainer (Greenock Glenpark) and the Corstorphine pair Dougie Selman and Michael Crawley.
Ethiopia’s Kidist Yichenku has withdrawn from the women’s race after failing to recover from a recent muscle strain. The 24 year-old, who won the Edinburgh half marathon in 2011, dropped out of her last race earlier this month and feels unable to take part this weekend.
There is now no obvious favourite for top spot in the women’s competition in which Corstorphine’s Gillian Carr and Fiona Drake will face a north and north east challenge led by Louise Cartmell and Elspeth Jenkins, both members of Moray Road Runners, Tammy Wilson (Garioch Road Runners) and Julie Hendry (Metro Aberdeen).
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and it is clear from the quality of entrants to the Global Energy Inverness ½Marathon that athletics fans are in for a treat this Sunday. Good luck to all of those taking part in what will undoubtedly be a great day of running.”
This year’s Global Energy Inverness Half Marathon is once again 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’s Chief Executive David Cunningham said: “We are so grateful that the Global Energy Inverness Half Marathon has chosen us as its official race charity for a second year.
“As we strive towards our goal of building a Highland Children’s Hospital in Inverness, we are overwhelmed by this marvellous gesture of support. We know that many of the runners will be taking part to help make this vision for the Highland’s Children a reality and we are extremely grateful for that.”
The Global Energy Inverness Half Marathon starts at 12.30 at Bught Park, the 5K Team Attack at 12.40 and the 5K Fun Run at 12.45 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 14.00 (5K Team Attack) and 14.45 (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 09.30-11.45.
Runners are reminded that the races are all starting earlier than in previous years. The timetable is as follows:-
12.30pm: 1/2 marathon start
12.40pm: 5K Team Attack start
12.45pm: 5K Fun Run start
For all race information and road closures please visit: www.invernesshalfmarathon.co.uk