The 2011 race winner Andrew Douglas (Inverclyde AC) and River Ness 10Km champion John Newsom (Central AC) managed to stay with Simpson for the first half of the race but the Aberdeenshire man’s strength and pace eventually prevailed and he went on to secure a clear-cut victory.
Simpson, a Countryside Management student at Scotland’s RuralCollege in Aberdeen, earned a £1,000 prize, and he was more than happy with his day’s work.
He said: “We ran together until about the six or seven mile point, but not long after that I pushed on a bit and was able to open a little gap. I decided to just keep it going as hard as I could and never looked back.
“The last time I was here I was very happy with my time, so I am absolutely delighted to run almost two minutes quicker today. I felt so comfortable, although I tried hard at the finish to get under 66mins.”
Newsom, who is gearing up for an appearance in next month’s Manchester marathon where he will be aiming for a Scottish Commonwealth Games qualifying time of 2hr 19min, finished second in 1:07:13. Douglas, who had to settle for third position in 1:08:25, also has Commonwealth Games aspirations and will take part in next month’s London marathon in a bid to achieve the required time.
North of Scotland champion Gordon Lennox (Forres Harriers) was an isolated fourth in 1:11:06 while fifth placed Graham Bee, 1:11:48, collected the Graeme Moffat Memorial Quaich awarded to the first Inverness Harrier to complete the course.
Bee also led Inverness Harriers to the team prize with backing from Andrew Macrae (27th in 1:20:06) and Kenny Steele (41st in 1:22:58).
Scott Kennedy (Run-4-It) won the over-40 age group prize in 1:13:26 and Alec Keith (Hunters Bog Trotters) was top over-50 in 1:18:56.
Nicola Duncan (Portobello Running Club) showed her class by winning the women’s prize when finishing ninth overall in a time of 1:13:28, which is just seven secs outside the course record set by Kenya’s Cathy Mutwa in 2007.
The Edinburgh-based athlete, who is to represent her native Ireland in the world half marathon championships at the end of the month, was delighted with her performance which is her second quickest time for the distance.
She said: “I am very pleased as that is my second fastest half marathon time and the quickest I have done in the UK. My fastest was in Barcelona last month, but that was on a flat course and the weather was warmer than here. I found the wind quite tough on a few stretches today but it’s a great course, everything was very well organised and I really enjoyed it.”
Great Britain international Hayley Haining (Kilbarchan AAC) pulled out of the race shortly beyond the 10 mile point leaving the way clear for her club mate Gemma Rankin to come through to take second position in 1:16:44.
Jennifer Emsley (Central AC) improved her personal best time by 90secs to take third position in 1:16:59 while Tammy Wilson (Garioch Road Runners) also recorded her fastest time of 1:22:47 in fourth position.
Fifth placed Sarah Liebnitz was another athlete hitting top form to clock a lifetime best of 1:23:03 to lead Inverness Harriers to another team victory in the women’s competition. She was supported by Emily Tomlin (11th in 1:27:55) and Alison Wilson (18th in 1:30:41)
Race Director Malcolm Sutherland of Caledonian Concepts said: “We were delighted to achieve a record entry of over 3660 runners this year, and it helped make the event’s 30th anniversary extra special. It’s encouraging that so many people come and take part in what has become a regular and popular fixture on the running calendar.”
Al Murray was first home in the Team Attack 5Km, recording 18min 4secs, and he led the 3 Scots side to top spot in the men’s team competition with backing from John Buchan, Ross Mcbride and James Fraser.
The 3 Scots Officers squad of William Garrick, Alex Deck, James Fish and Zach Smyth won the Corporate team category and the ShaBaam quartet of Lisa Jane McCreath, Lianne Fraser, Gemma Maclean and Aimie Patience won the women’s competition
Veteran runner Stan Mackenzie (Forres Harriers) was first in the accompanying Global Energy 5Km fun run in which Nairn’s Mary McIntosh was first woman.
Highland Hospice Events & Community Fundraiser Carola Highet said, “The atmosphere at today’s Global Energy Inverness 1/2 Marathon was just phenomenal. It was lovely to see so many people coming out to run in support of Highland Hospice. Special thanks to our celebrity supporters Colin McCredie and his daughters Maisie and Betsy who supported us by coming up from Glasgow to do the 5K Fun Run. And to HappyNess comedians Ray Bradshaw and Rob Deering who both ran the ½ Marathon.
“This event will make a huge difference to our patients and their families and we are extremely grateful to Global Energy Group for choosing us as this year’s official nominated charity. We look forward to announcing how much has been raised for Highland Hospice in due course.”
Global Energy Group was race sponsor for a third year. The company’s Communications Director, Alastair Kennedy commented: “We had a great line-up of athletes this year and, as ever, it was thrilling viewing at the finish line. With so many people taking part in this year’s races, we know that a lot of money will have been raised for many worthwhile causes.”
GLOBAL ENERGY INVERNESS HALF MARATHON
Men: 1 R. Simpson (Deeside) 1hr 6min 3secs; 2 J. Newsom (Central AC) 1:07:13; 3 A. Douglas (Inverclyde) 1:08:25; 4 G. Lennox (Forres) 1:11:06; 5 G. Bee (Inverness Harriers) 1:11:48; 6 G. French (Garioch Road Runners) 1:12:24; 7 W. Dashper (Telford) 1:13:23; 8 S. Kennedy (Run-4-It, first over-40) 1:13:26; 9 J. Rossiter (Skye and Lochalsh) 1:13:58; 10 N. Wolverson 1:14:33.
Over-50: A. Keith (Hunters Bog Trotters) 1:18:56
Teams: 1 Inverness Harriers 3hr 54min 56secd; 2 Edinburgh AC 4:03:44; 3 Harmeny AC 4:13:01
Women: 1 N. Duncan (Portobello) 1:13:28; 2 G. Rankin (Kilbarchan) 1:16:44; 3 J. Emsley (Central AC) 1:16:59; 4 T. Wilson (Garioch) 1:22:47; 5 S. Liebnitz (Inverness) 1:23:07; 6 L. Ross 1:25:27; 7 C. Black (Shetland) 1:25:34; 8 D. Moore 1:26:01; 9 R. Gibson (Corstorphine) 1:27:48; 10 R. Anderson (Dunbar, first over-50) 1:28:08.
Over-40: M. Baxter 1:28:17.
Teams: 1 Inverness Harriers 4:22:03; 2 Corstorphine AAC 4:29:10; 3 Garioch Road Runners 4:42:25
GLOBAL ENERGY 5K TEAM ATTACK
Corporate: 1. 3 Scots Officers 1hr 20min 15sec
Men: 1 3 Scots Seniors 1:21:57
Mixed: 1 Simpsons Builders 1:42:43
Women: ShaBaam 1:43:03