Loch Ness is hardly a stranger to tourists, but these days it isn't just Nessie attracting visitors to the area. The Baxters Loch Ness marathon on September 30 is experiencing strong interest from runners across Europe. The scenic event voted one of the top marathons in the UK is now being targeted by leading continental runners including Bartosz Mazerski and Oleg Rantzow.
Polish athlete Mazerski, says he's keen to compete this year: "I would like to run in the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon as I have heard lots of wonderful things about the race." Mazerski already has several marathon victories to his name, including Warsaw, Dresden, and the French marathons of Rochelle, Vale de Reuil, Le Havre and Caen. On top of this, he has won the Liverpool half marathon, come second in the Kielder marathon and third in the Austin marathon in Texas.
The Pole could face competition from German Oleg Rantzow, who is also interested in tackling the race. As a triathlete, he finished fourth in the European junior championships in 1997 and has a best marathon time of 2:24:37 set at Berlin in 2010. Both could test Scottish hopeful Ross Houston who completed the recent Edinburgh marathon in 2:21:01 and has aspirations to represent Scotland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Race director Malcolm Sutherland said: "The reputation of the race is growing all the time and it is great to know that good runners from across Europe want to come here to take part in what promises to be another great occasion. We would be delighted to see these guys competing at Loch Ness, so I hope they come and give the home-based athletes some good competition."
Entries for club runners, overseas competitors and official charity runners remain open until September 10, which is also the closing date for the Baxters River Ness 10K, 10K Corporate Challenge and Baxters River Ness 5K.
For more information visit the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon website.