Scotland's top runners will face stiff competition at next weekend's Global Energy Inverness half marathon after Ethiopian athletes Yared Hagos and Hana Megresa both confirmed their participation. The race on Sunday, March 11 has already attracted 2,000 runners in what is shaping up to be the largest and most competitive in its 28 year history.
Hagos, who runs for Wallsend Harriers, recently gave an outstanding performance at the Turnbridge Wells half marathon as he surpassed a long-standing course record. Hagos' finishing time at Turnbridge Wells was 64:15, 17 seconds quicker than Peter Fleming's current record at Inverness. Indeed, Hagos boasts an even more impressive PB of 1:03:31, set when finishing 8th in October's Great North Run.
News of the Ethiopian's participation will no doubt act as an extra source of motivation for Scottish internationals Robert Russell, Ross Houston and last year's winner Andrew Douglas. All will be looking to grab this year's lucrative cash prize, which stands at £1,000.
The other Ethipian runner, Hana Megresa, is expected to feature prominently in the women's competition. Megresa boasts a half marathon 1:20:30 PB set in warm conditions, and joins Glasgow-based Eritrean athletes Tesgai Tewelde and Teweldeberhan Mengisteab, as late arrivals to the elite field.
Race organiser Malcolm Sutherland believes Hagos and Megresa's participation will bring out the best in the Scottish runners: "It's great that our race has attracted such good quality overseas runners. I'm sure their presence will inspire the top Scots to raise their performances which means we should have a cracking competition."