18 Jan

Houston Hoping To Be Highland Hero

Ross Houston

Scotland's national marathon champion, Ross Houston, has confirmed he will be competing at the Global Energy Inverness half marathon on 17 March as he looks towards the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The Central AC runner will be hoping a strong performance in the Highland capital will help him as he looks to achieve the Commonwealth qualifying standard of 2:19 at the London marathon in April.

Houston said: "I've never been able to do the Inverness half marathon before so I'm looking forward to it. It will definitely be part of my build up to London and I'm sure there will be a good quality field taking part."

The 33-year-old currently has a back injury but hopes to returnto full fitness soon. He said: "It's quite painful at the moment and I haven't been able to run for about a week, but I'm getting treatment so hopefully it will clear up quickly. If all goes to plan I'll be running for Central AC in the European clubs championships in Spain next month. After that I'll be doing the national cross country championships, then Inverness."

Great Britain mountain running international Joe Symonds has also confirmed he'll be in the starting line-up for this year's event. Other top runners are expected to sign up soon for a race which offers an attractive prize kitty topped by the £1,000 on offer to the top man and woman.

Race director Malcolm Sutherland said: "Ross Houston was a popular winner of the Baxters Loch Ness marathon last autumn so it will be interesting to see if he can complete the double by winning the half marathon as well. There's no doubt he'll face some good quality opposition with Joe Symonds and others in the line-up. It seems certain that we will have another exciting race to look forward to."

The half marathon is expected to attract more than 2,500 participants and also features a team competition with prizes for the first three men's clubs and the first two women's sides. Two other races will be held in conjunction with the half marathon - the 5K Fun Run and the 5K Team Attack. First introduced in 2011, the 5K Team Attack is open to clubs, businesses, and groups of friends who can enter teams of four. Prizes will be based on the cumulative time of the four runners. The 5k Fun Run is open to individuals and is expected to generate a lot of interest.

Entries for the half marathon, 5K and Team Attack can all be made by visiting the event website