Olympic heroine Sally Gunnell is back in Scotland this week to take part in the First Monster Challenge, a 120km team relay duathlon around the shores of Loch Ness. Speaking to scottishrunningguide.com Sally confirmed that she would be joined by husband Jon Bigg and two hard-core fitness fanatics from Sussex to attempt to finish top of the sell out field.
"I'm looking forward to competing in the First Monster Challenge; I've got two legs - the first is my running section and the second the bike leg. The first leg is going to be tough as my training was disrupted by a niggle during the summer but I'm planning to enjoy my second stint as I've managed a few miles cycling on road and feel good about that.
"I did get some valuable pre-First Monster Challenge at the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow on Sunday and was happy to jog round in 49.20 - had to keep something in the tank for Loch Ness."
The Olympic gold medal winner also took some time out to visit Hilton Primary School in Inverness to promote FirstGroup's new event, the Mini Monster. The mile long event coincides with Saturday's First Monster Challenge, and is aimed at families and children. Pupils from Hilton Primary School are expected to turn up in their numbers to run, walk or cycle the Mini Monster.
Sally proved a big hit with the school's 350 pupils, especially as she brought along her treasured gold medal that she won in the 400m hurdles at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. She also gave a brief talk to the pupils encouraging them to take part in sport and did a question and answer session.
Sally Gunnell played down her team's chances of winning the First Monster Challenge: "I have a good team and we are quietly confident of doing quite well, although I think winning the event may be a little on the optimistic side. The main aim is to get round in one piece, enjoy the weekend, raise money for Save the Children and beat Gavin Hastings' team."
She added: "I am seriously looking forward to getting out on the course and sampling the scenery."
Sir Moir Lockhead, Chief Executive of event organisers FirstGroup, commented: "We have been overwhelmed with the interest in the First Monster Challenge 2010 - indeed we sold out a few months ago with some 230 teams of four taking part. We are very lucky to have attracted sporting icons such as Sally Gunnell and Gavin Hastings. I hope they and all our competitors enjoy the event, get round safely and raise lots of money for our charity partner, Save the Children."
On Friday 10 September competitors will attend a safety briefing and pasta party at the event's start and finish point, Queens Park Stadium, Inverness, before rising for a 7am start on race day - Saturday, September 11.
The First Monster Challenge, which has been officially accredited by the British Triathlon Foundation, consists of teams of four. Each competitor is required to complete two legs of the 8-legged event - one 10km run and one 20km cycle.