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Record entry for Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running

Entries for Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running have reached record levels for this year’s event taking place on 4 October 2009.  Entry numbers for the Marathon in this Homecoming year are up by a massive 53% and overall the Festival is on target to attract over 7500 runners this year. 

Former Blue Peter and Top of the Pops presenter Konnie Huq will be welcoming runners from all events across the line in Queen’s Park Stadium on Sunday 4 October. Konnie, now presenter of Sky 1’s Guinness World Records Smashed, may even be seen taking up the challenge of the Baxters River Ness 10K herself and joining runners on the course on Sunday. 

This year’s Marathon runners to look out for include Simon Tonui, (PB 2-16) (Kenyan / Birchfield Harriers), as well as David Kirkland (Alnwick) who was second at last year’s Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and has won the Reykjavik marathon for the past 2 years. Niku Millott (Metro Aberdeen) is this year’s Lochaber Marathon winner, and was fifth in Baxters Loch Ness Marathon in 2008.

In the women’s field of entries Joice Kirui (PB 2-42) (Kenya / Birchfield) is likely to be one of the first females over the finishing line, as is Rebecca Johnson (Bellahouston Road Runners). Rebecca was winner of Isle of Man marathon this year. Others to look out for include Erica Christie (Bellahouston Harriers) who has been placed second on two occasions at Loch Ness (2002 and 2004), and Katie Mackenzie of Barnsley.

In the Baxters River Ness 10K, Lukas Wambua (PB of 30-01)of Kenya is one to watch out for, as is Kristian Forster (PB 31-00) (Morpeth). Kristian is son of Kevin Forster, the GB Olympic marathon runner in 1988. The women’s 10K includes entries from Genet Measso (PB 33-24) of Ethiopia, and local runner Melissa Whyte (Inverness) (PB 35-53) who is ranked second in the UK for the over-45 age group: both are likely to be early finishers.

To celebrate the Year of Homecoming, all participants have been invited to sign up for the Run Home Clan Challenge, with this prestigious honour being claimed by the clan fielding the strongest show of runners on the day of the event. And a special event on Saturday morning, the Run Home Highland Breakfast Run, offers everyone a sociable way to warm up for race day, with music inspired by the Highlands and a hearty breakfast to help prepare for Sunday’s challenge. 

Event and race director, Malcolm Sutherland, said: “We are absolutely delighted to see the rise in entries for the Marathon in this Year of Homecoming. This was the first time in the eight year history of the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon that entrants were able to secure guaranteed places on a first come, first served basis and it is tremendous that this change has appealed to so many runners.”

Bill King of Baxters said: “Baxters has been proud to support the Loch Ness Marathon since it first took place in 2002 and it has been particularly rewarding for us to see the event grow to be the third largest Marathon in the UK over the past few years. And we’re delighted that this year’s event in our Homecoming year will be the largest one to date. All runners participating in Sunday’s event will have the opportunity to enjoy some of the Baxters Healthy soup range – as well as tasting great, our Healthy soup range is nutritionally balanced and can help towards providing a balanced diet as part of a running plan.  This year’s Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running promises to be a fantastic day out for runners and spectators alike – good luck to everyone taking part!”

Marie Christie, Homecoming Scotland Project Director, said: “We are delighted the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running is supporting the national Homecoming celebrations with an enhanced programme of Run Home activity, including the inaugural Clan Challenge.  It’s great to see event entries have risen significantly in the Homecoming year, including record entries from outwith Scotland.  The event looks set to deliver a fantastic weekend for all in the Highlands”

Convener of The Highland Council, Sandy Park, said: “The attraction of Loch Ness as an international destination is being borne out by the record number of entries this year to the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running. I welcome all the athletes and their support teams of families and friends to the Highlands. I trust that they will have an excellent race experience and stay awhile to take part in our Year of Homecoming events and activities.”
The finish line for all events on Sunday is the Queens Park Stadium, Inverness. Spectators waiting to cheer their friends and family across the line will enjoy a fantastic programme of entertainment including children’s activities, retail stalls and lots of excellent music. Experienced ceilidh trailers Alasdair Taylor and Cameron Kellow will share the stage with Òr Ceilidh Band to keep everyone’s toes tapping on Sunday. And sending the runners off with a skirl in their step will be The Easter Ross Schools Pipe Band and the Lochaber High School Pipe Band.

For more details about all events in Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running, visit http://www.lochnessmarathon.com or call 0870 127 8000.