The World Cup in Brazil may be taking centre stage on the sporting scene at the moment, but this year's Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running has already attracted entries from more countries than the South American football extravaganza. Runners of 33 different nationalities, including six Brazilians, will join competitors from each of the home countries for the race on Sunday 28 September.
If you want to join this cosmopolitan assembly you'll have to get off your marks sharply as the entry deadline for guaranteed places is midnight on Tuesday 1 July. After that, entries will only be available for overseas runners, Scottishathletics members, members of affiliated UK running clubs, and through affiliated charities.
Race organiser Malcolm Sutherland is urging runners to sign up as quickly as possible: “It is absolutely fantastic that our event is being supported by so many runners from all over the world who help make it a real carnival occasion. Overseas runners have a bit longer to submit entries, but for UK based non-club runners the deadline is almost with us. So, if you don’t want to miss out, please submit your entry by 1 July.
“We try to offer something for all sectors of the running community. In addition to the marathon we have the Baxters River Ness 10K, including a Corporate Challenge for teams, the River Ness 5K fun run, and the Wee Nessie children's run.”
A new feature of the marathon and 10K this year is the Clan Challenge which has been introduced as part of the Homecoming Scotland 2014 celebrations.
Sutherland explained the concept: “We want to find out which clan is the most heavily represented in the races so when people enter they are being invited to indicate which clan they represent and where they have come from. The results of the Clan Challenge will be based on numbers of runners from each clan who successfully complete either race.”
For more details visit the event website.