A world record looks to have been set at the Inverness Half Marathon today (Sunday, March 8) – by two men dressed up as charity mascots.
Harvey the Heart and Bobby the Bee crossed the finishing line together with a gun time of 1.37.03 which, if verified, will be a new world record for the fastest half marathon by mascots.
Charity runner Frank Gilroy of Bellahouston Harriers was dressed as Harvey the Heart while Kenny Steele, chief executive of the Highland Hospice, had donned the Bobby the Bee costume to run round the 13.1 mile course.
Both mascots were over the moon with their time, which will take several weeks to be verified by Guinness World Records.
Frank (51) already holds the record for the marathon distance while dressed as the mascot from the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow.
He says, “It was a fantastic event, and to get the record alongside Bobby the Bee tops off a fantastic day for me and the hospice. I would like to say thanks to Bobby the Bee for helping to make it such a memorable occasion.”
Inverness Harriers member Kenny (47) is every bit as pleased that they were able to cross the finishing line together and highlight the work of both hospices.
Kenny, a member of the Inverness Harriers running club adds, “Taking part in the half marathon as Bobby the Bee has been a completely new challenge for me.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the support for Bobby and our fund-raising efforts and it’s a great bonus that we may have made it into the charity books. I would like to pay thanks to everyone who has sponsored a runner today.”
The previous world record time for a half marathon by a mascot was by Jefferson the Dog, who completed the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in 1.46.27 in 2011.
There was a record entry for the event, and a field of 1820 runners took part – a new high for entries. Spectators lined the route, which started out from Bught Park in the city centre and onto roads in the south of Inverness.
First to cross the finish line at Queens Park Stadium was Tewelderberhan Mengisteab of Shettleston Harriers in a time of 01.06.48. The first woman was Shona Mcintosh, Hunters Bog Trotters who finished in 01.16.45.
Race director Malcolm Sutherland says it was an eventful day which will be fondly remembered by organisers. He adds, “To have a world record set at our event is a dream come true, and congratulations to both Kenny and Frank for a great effort. They have both done a great job in putting the spotlight on their respective hospices.
“Their achievement, along with the record number of people entering, just goes to underline how events like these are for everyone, whether they are among the elite athletes or taking part in their first race. It was great to see so many happy faces crossing the finish line.
“I would also like to thank the public for once again turning out to give runners their support, and for making a memorable day for them.”
A 5K fun run also accompanied the half marathon, with people of all ages – including children – taking on the course. Many participants in both races were raising money for Highland Hospice – the official charity partner of the event.
Funds raised for Highland Hospice will go towards the charity’s campaign to rebuild the inpatient unit in Inverness. The project, which has £1.9m to go to reach its target, will lead to the size of the inpatient unit being doubled, with improvements in family accommodation. Construction is due to start in May, with completion due in 14 months.
Further information about both events is available at www.invernesshalfmarathon.co.uk and updates also appear on facebook.com/InvernessHalfMarathon and @NessHalfMar on Twitter.