Entries have opened for the 33rd edition of the event, which takes place on Sunday 12 March 2017, and Douglas admits he’s keen to be on the starting line to defend the title he won so impressively earlier this year.
The Edinburgh-based Caithness man, who was short-listed alongside seven Olympians for this year’s Scottish athlete of the year award, has featured on the podium on all five of his appearances in the Highland race over the past seven years. His victory this year was achieved in a speedy 65min 38secs, just one second outside his lifetime best set in Barcelona last February, and the fourth fastest time in the history of the race. He also won in 2011, was runner-up in 2010 and finished third in 2012 and 2014.
Douglas said: “I always enjoy competing at Inverness. It’s almost a local race for me and it has been great in recent years to see more and more members of my club,North Highland Harriers, taking part. It’s an excellent course, well organised, and seems always to be capable of delivering fast times.
“I’d certainly be happy to do it again in 2017. It all depends on my racing schedule, but it has always been good for me to run there in the past. I want to see how fast I can run a half marathon in 2017 and I’d like to try for under 65mins. I’m not sure which races I’ll do yet, but Inverness is certainly in my thoughts.”
Inverness Race Director Malcolm Sutherland is delighted Andrew is seriously thinking about including the half marathon in his busy competition schedule.
He said: “We are delighted that Andrew and many of Scotland’s other top distance runners show faith in our event by travelling north on a regular basis to take part. We have seen some fantastic performances from the elites over the years and, should he decide to return, we are we will take pride in welcoming him and others back in 2017.
“The half marathon always attracts a good elite field but runners of all levels of experience and ability regularly turn out in big numbers. It’s that combination which gives the event such a special feel. There’s always a tremendous atmosphere and a warm welcome awaits everyone at the finish line in the Queen’s park stadium.
“The race is well positioned within the running calendar to provide a timely opportunity for runners to test themselves ahead of the big April marathons such as London, Brighton, Boston, Rotterdam or Paris.
“For those who don’t feel up to tackling a half marathon we also have a 5km fun run. This has proved very popular in recent years and is open to runners of all ages including youngsters if they are accompanied by an adult. Wheelchairs are also welcome. Schools, clubs and disability groups are welcome to enter teams to run the 5km Fun Run and receive reduced entry fees. “
Half marathon entries have already broken through the 1,100 barrier and expectations are high that more than 2,000 runners will join up to take part. Registration is open until 21 February, but organisers are encouraging people to sign up as soon as possible.
Sutherland added: “Now is a perfect time to enter either the half marathon or the 5km as it gives people a target to aim for over the winter months. It’s sometimes difficult to get motivated to keep training hard during the long dark days and in poorer climatic conditions if you don’t have something specific to aim for, but having the carrot of a big race on the horizon can make all the difference. It fires you up and makes you want to get out there and enjoy running, whatever the weather.”
Full details at www.invernesshalfmarathon.co.uk