Great Britain mountain running international Joe Symonds is the first high profile athlete to sign up for the 2013 Global Energy Inverness half marathon. Symonds, who won the North of Scotland cross country title at Evanton recently, has aspirations of representing Scotland in the marathon at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and sees the Inverness race on Sunday 17 March, as a key part of his preparations.
Scotland's selectors have indicated that a time of faster than 2hr 19min will be needed to be considered for marathon selection, with all times recorded after 1 January 2013 being taken into account. Inverness Harrier, Symonds, is expected to be one of a number of athletes with realistic hopes of chasing the qualifying standard.
The 29-year-old said: "I'm aiming to compete in the Rotterdam marathon in April when I'm hoping to get a decent time. The Inverness half marathon is about four weeks before that, so it would be the perfect opportunity for me to have the chance to run a quick half marathon as a good warm up.
"Hopefully there will be a good field at Inverness as that will make it easier for everyone to get a fast time. My best at the moment is 67min 34sec, but I'll need to run much quicker than that."
Race director, Malcolm Sutherland, said: "It's great that Joe sees the Global Energy Inverness half marathon as playing an important part in his bid for Commonwealth Games selection. We hope that a number of others with similar aspirations will join us for what's sure to be another top class contest. But we give an equally enthusiastic welcome to runners of all levels of ability and experience. We expect more than 2,500 runners to sign up for the race and I'm sure they will all enjoy the day."
Two other races will be held in conjunction with the half marathon - the 5K Team Attack open to clubs, businesses, or groups of friends who can enter teams of four, and the 5K Fun Run. To enter any of the races, visit the event website.