The organiser of one of Holland's oldest marathons has sounded a rallying call for top Scottish runners. The Unive Drenthe Loopfestijn, which is located in the north-east of the country, is offering a lucrative cash incentive for male and female competitors capable of hitting sub 2:15 and 2:42 minute performances. To mark the event's 30th staging on 26 May, 2013, the marathon is looking to raise its international profile by attracting as strong a field as possible. The route is said to be relatively quick, and consists of 4 loops through the rural village of Klazienaveen.
On top of a €500 prize for a first place finish, an additional €1,250 will be awarded to male runners who complete the marathon in under 2:15, with the same award for female competitors who come home in less than 2:42. This falls to €1,100 for sub 2:20 and 2:50 performances respectively.
With the course records currently standing at 2:17:38 and 2:45:21, any runner who manages to hit the fastest times laid out above will also receive a bonus of €1,250. Thus, in total, a sub 2:15 or 2:42 would amount to a total cash prize of €3,000. For Scottish runners, event organisers are also offering free entry, accommodation and meals.
The times laid out seem to be imminently feasible for a number of Scottish athletes, with Kilbarchan's Derek Hawkins recording a 2:14:04 in Frankfurt last month. After a consistent year, Ross Houston is also likely to fancy his chances following his 2:20 in Loch Ness. Hawkins' club-mates Gemma Rankin and Hayley Haining both boast PBs that fall under the current course records with 2:41:50 and 2:29:18 respectively.
The nature of marathon racing means that there may be other fast improving Scottish runners who fancy this challenge and further information is available on the event website. Cash prizes for the half marathon are also available. Alternatively, you can contact race PR co-oridnator Jans Jagt.