With participants ranging from three months to 86 years old, it really is an all-comers challenge.
Thousands of runners are gearing up to descend on the north this weekend as the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival enters its 17th year.
About 8,000 competitors from across the globe have signed up to take part in this year’s event – which kicks off on Saturday – travelling from as far way as Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, South Africa and the USA with more than 4,000 runners set to take part in the UK’s most scenic marathon.
The Festival of Running will begin on Saturday featuring the new Runner’s Café and Scotland’s largest running Expo dedicated to runners at Inverness Bught Park in Inverness.
The following day, thousands of runners will take on the events iconic marathon route, setting off from a point between Fort Augustus and Whitebridge before following a spectacular route alongside the south side of Loch Ness into Inverness.
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Craig Clarke from Paisley is preparing to conquer the route once again in a bid to set a new Guinness World Record whilst wearing full Highland dress, despite already holding the Guinness World Record for the feat. In aid of his efforts, he is also hoping to raise £2000 for Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital in Glasgow.
Race director Malcolm Sutherland, said: “We’re so excited about welcoming everyone to this year’s Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running weekend. The event has been growing in popularity year on year with runners of all abilities and age groups represented. Last year the event raised a total of £608,200 for charities and this year we’re hopeful that even more will be raised.”
Competitors will also take to the streets of the Inverness as part of company’s River Ness 10K, 10K Corporate Challenge and River Ness 5K. Youngsters under the age of five will also be able to get in on all the action by taking on the popular Wee Nessie kids’ race.
The festival is being hosted by Scottish television and radio presenter Bryan Burnett with the two-day festival weekend promising a packed family friendly agenda.
Audrey Baxter, executive chairman and Group CEO at Baxters, added: “We’re extremely proud to be the title sponsor of the Loch Ness Marathon once more in what is a very special year for us as we celebrate our 150th anniversary.”