1 Jun

Monster Back In September

the start at the First Monster duathlon

The organisers of the First Monster Challenge, the 120k team relay duathlon around the shores of Loch Ness, are hoping to see the event raise £200,000 for good causes in 2011, the 5th year of the event.

Organisers FirstGroup, the UK's largest transport operator, has announced that it will introduce a Charity Bonds scheme for the running and cycling event, which takes place on September 3.

First is keen to maximise cash generated for good causes, according to Avril Gill, FirstGroup's Marketing Manager. She said: "Monster has been a huge success story. The event is great fun, extremely popular and raises lots of money for charity.

"The event now sells itself. Indeed we expect to sell out for the third year in a row, which is a great position to be in," she continued. "But we want to raise the bar in terms of the amount of charitable funds the event generates. Last year First Monster generated over £188k bringing the total raised over four years to more than £500k.

"But, we are determined to do more to try and break the magical £200k barrier at this year's event. It is overwhelming to see the effort and commitment from our competitors in raising such huge amounts year in year out. That kind of money and support was way beyond our expectations when we rolled out First Monster in 2007.

"I'm confident that offering guaranteed places to charities throughout the UK, through our Charitable Bonds scheme, will give us the extra nudge required to take us beyond £200k."

Charitable Bonds are available for the First Monster team event, which sees teams of four run and cycle around the shores of Loch Ness in a relay format. Bonds are also available for the Iron Monster event, where competitors take on the entire 120km course solo.

Scores of charities have benefited from the First Monster event including: FirstGroup's charity partner, Save the Children; Breast Cancer Institute; Neonatal Death Charity; Highland Wildlife Charity; Riding for the Disabled; Diabetes UK; St John's Ambulance; RNLI; the British Heart Foundation; Alzheimer's Scotland; and Help for Heroes.

To purchase First Monster Charity Bonds or for more information, please contact Kirstin Aram on 01224 650145 or at kirstin.aram@firstgroup.com.

The First Monster Challenge, which has been officially accredited by the British Triathlon Foundation, requires each competitor to complete two legs of the eight-legged event - one 10km run and one 20km cycle. For more information visit the event website.

The event always attracts celebrity interest and previous famous faces include Nell McAndrew, Alistair Campbell, Ben Fogle, Liz McColgan, Sally Gunnell and Gavin Hastings.