For the third year in a row, the Baxters Loch Ness marathon has been nominated as the Scottish national championship race. Organisers of the event, which takes place on 29 September, are particularly pleased with the news as many leading Scottish athletes will be chasing qualifying times for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Race director Malcolm Sutherland spoke of his delight at the decision: "It's wonderful news and it's certainly a great boost for everyone associated with the event. We are really happy that the national championships are coming here again. We are looking forward to welcoming some of Scotland's best marathon runners who will be going for times which, hopefully, might lead to some of them earning places in the 2014 Commonwealth Games team."
Central AC's Ross Houston will be given the chance to complete a hat-trick of national championship wins at Loch Ness. The 33-year-old picked up the Scottish title for the first time two years ago and last September he set a personal best of 2hr 20min 24secs when successfully defending his title. Houston's time was just 11 seconds outside the course record set by Kenya's Simon Tonui in 2009. A thrilling women's race was won by Shettleston's Avril Mason last year. She set a lifetime best of 2:54:54 to defeat the 2011 champion Lisa Finlay of Dumfries.
Sutherland said: "Hopefully Ross and Avril will come back this year. We will again be offering a substantial prize list with the men's and women's champions each earning £1500. The total prize fund for the top five men and women totals more than £6,000. But Loch Ness doesn't just welcome elite performers. We had almost 4,000 entrants for the marathon last year and these included runners of all levels of ability and experience. There is something for everyone as we also have the Baxters River Ness 10K and 5K as well as the Wee Nessie children's run. In total, close to 9,000 people entered our races in 2012."
Guaranteed entry is available now for all races. For more information visit the Loch Ness marathon website.