As the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon celebrates its 15th anniversary on 25 September, three runners, who have completed every edition of the race, will help the mark the milestone. Fiona Rennie, Lucy Mackay and Kenneth Stewart are all limbering up to take part in the marathon again this year, making them the only trio who have participated in all 15 races.
By the time they cross the finish line in Inverness they will have clocked up 1,179 miles on the stunning course, which runs alongside the world famous loch.
The marathon is more than just a race for 53-year-old Fiona, from Dunfermline. Her love of the event and the desire to take part spurred her on while she recovered from a brain haemorrhage in 2005 and mouth cancer three years ago.
Fiona said: “It’s the most beautiful run anywhere in the world. I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to run, and that made me determined to recover and get back into running.
Kenneth Stewart (65) from Perth stands out from the thousands of runners on the course by taking part in his kilt. He explained why he keeps coming back to the event: “Loch Ness is something completely different, and I think if you are looking for a marathon that typifies Scotland, then this is it. At the start of the race, when the pipe band is playing, it’s almost like a scene out of Braveheart seeing people coming out of the heather to muster.”
For Glasgow-based Lucy (51), taking part in the Loch Ness Marathon is like coming home. She used to live in Fort Augustus, which is just a few miles away from the start line of the marathon. She explained: “It’s my favourite marathon. Sometimes in big races, the noise can be overwhelming, but at Loch Ness all you hear is breathing and footsteps. It’s something really special.”
The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running also comprises the River Ness 10K, 10K Corporate Challenge and River Ness 5K as well the Wee Nessie fun run for pre-school children.
Find out more about the day at the event website, on Facebook and on Twitter.