A combination of a record number of entries across all events for the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running, faster times in prospect for all events and the introduction of a new event village with attractions for runners and spectators makes this Sunday’s event one not to be missed!
The largest entry field in the Festival’s history will see well over 8,600 runners from 41 countries travelling to the Highlands for the UK’s most scenic marathon, which is expected to generate significant economic benefit for the local area over the weekend. Over £660,000 was raised for charity through last year’s event, the biggest participatory sporting event north of the Central Belt.
In a new development for 2010, runners will cross the finish line in a new event village adjacent to the River Ness at Bught Park, a short walk from the centre of Inverness. A corresponding move in the start-line at Whitebridge on the south-side of Loch Ness will provide a faster start for the marathon, and is expected to generate faster times overall. A similar move in the start and finish lines for the Baxters River Ness 10K and a new scenic 5K route along the River Ness and through the Ness Islands also applies.
Runners and spectators at this year’s Festival will join the celebrations for Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink through the addition of the Baxters Highland Food and Drink Fayre in the Bught Park. Hot garlic bread, steaming bowls of delicious soup, roasting pig, local venison, salmon on bagels and locally brewed beer, and cooking demonstrations by Baxters Head Chef David King, are just some of the treats on offer for spectator and runners alike.
Everyone is invited to come along to the event village (free entry) to cheer on the runners crossing the finish line for all events including the Marathon, the River Ness 10K, 10K Corporate Challenge, the 5K Fun Run and, for the first time this year, the Wee Nessie. A packed programme of activities and entertainment throughout the day has something for all ages and features live music from Feis Rois, pipes and drums, Highland dancing display, climbing wall, bouncy castles and face painting, as well as charity and sports retailer stands.
For the first time this year, younger participants are invited to join the Wee Nessie. Pre-school age children will be able to toddle, walk or jog their own monster race, accompanied by a parent or carer, around a short circuit of approx. 400m in the Bught Park. Entry is on the event weekend.
Audrey Baxter, chairman of Baxters Food Group, said: “Baxters has been involved in the Loch Ness Marathon since the race began in 2002 and we are proud to be title sponsors for the ninth year running. During this time the festival has gone from strength to strength, and this year we hope it will have the greatest turn out of runners yet. With healthy eating and fitness going hand in hand, Baxters is proud to sponsor this high profile event which promotes an active lifestyle and a healthy balanced diet. We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone involved in the event, the best of luck”.
Convener of The Highland Council, Councillor Sandy Park, said: "Once again the draw of Loch Ness, the stunning scenery of the Highlands and the world-class Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running event has proven to be a winning combination, attracting a record number of entries for this year's event. I welcome all runners, as well as their supporters, families and friends and wish all competitors the best of luck for their chosen event on Sunday. "
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, the national events agency, said: “Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running is an exciting event which we are delighted to be supporting through the EventScotland International programme and as part of Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink. The addition of the Highland Food and Drink Fayre provides participants, who will be running along the shores of the world’s most famous loch, with the opportunity to sample the very best of Highland produce. As one of the largest participatory sporting events in Scotland, it is a fantastic celebration of athleticism, one which contributes toward making Scotland the perfect stage for events.”
Malcolm Sutherland of Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running said: “It is an exciting year for the Festival for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that we have the largest entry field ever, and the possibility of faster times for all events. The new event village and finish line next to the river in Bught Park has new attractions, as well as the Baxters Highland Food and Drink Fayre celebrating Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink – there’s lots for everyone to do while they cheer on the people crossing the finish line.”
Entry for all races is now closed although there are limited entries for the 5K (and Wee Nessie) over the weekend. Parking is limited at Bught Park and surrounding area so spectators and supporters are encouraged to travel to the event by foot or by taxi/public transport.
Please note that there will be a number of road closures in effect during the event on Sunday 3 October to ensure the safety of participants and spectators. For full details of the closures, visit http://www.lochnessmarathon.com/downloads/lochnessmarathon2010temporaryroadclosure.pdf. For further information on all aspects of the event visit www.lochnessmarathon.com.