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Runners to look out for in record entry field at Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running

With entries for the 2010 Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running up by over 17% on last year, and faster times expected in all events, this Sunday promises an exciting day for everyone taking part in the event or cheering on the runners at the finish at the new event village at Bught Park in Inverness. 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. 
Favourite in the 2010 Baxters Loch Ness Marathon event is Tomas Abyu (PB 2:10:37) who set the course record of 2 hours 20 minutes 59 seconds in 2003. Runner-up in 2009, David Kirkland (Alnwick) set a new PB earlier this year (2:23:37), and may prove a challenge for last year’s third place, Chris Wilson (Cambuslang Harriers). Kenyan Joseph Mbithi and Nigel Stirk are two other runners likely to be among the top rankings in Sunday’s event.
In the women’s marathon, Ethiopian Dinknesh Mekash Tefera is one to watch. Twice runner up Erica Christie of Bellahouston Harriers will be looking to better her 2009 time of 3:05:53. Edinburgh’s Issy Menzies PB of 2:52:23 last year will stand her in good stead for an early finish.
Last year’s Baxters River Ness 10K winner Kenyan Lukas Wambua is a favourite for this year’s event. Other top runners include Andrew Douglas from Halkirk, Caithness, hoping to add to his Balmoral 10K win earlier this year, and 2009’s third placed Karl Simpson (Shetland).
Runners featuring in the women’s 10K include Inverness-based athletes Melissa Whyte and Jenny Bannerman. Melissa was runner up in the 2009 Baxters River Ness 10K with a time of 35:18. Kenyan runner Cathy Mutwa won the Baxters River Ness 10K in 2006 with a time of 33:45. Scots Ellie Buchan and Emma Dunnett, are also names to look out for, as is fell runner Phillipa Maddams (Workington).
For further information on all aspects of the event visit http://www.lochnessmarathon.com.