In short: Exhilarating, friendly race - and the hills aren't THAT bad (honest)! In full: I'd done this race before in 2007 and due to inexperience and less-than-great training finished in a painful 5.30-something. So I came to it this year with much better training, a target of 4.30 and a (vague) plan.
The buses left on time and there was just enough time at the start to put baggage on the lorries and go to the loo. By the time I'd done that there wasn't quite enough time to get to the right area and the start was quite muddled, with a lot of people not quite ready and some still queueing for the loo. But with a comparatively small field it soon spread out enough to run comfortably and without the bottlenecks you get in some of the bigger city races.
The course was isolated, with little support over much of it, but glorious in its gorgeous landscapes and "interesting" in its hills! Loch Ness is known as "the hilly marathon" but if you've trained on hills it's really not that bad. The worst hill is the long, slow slog up from the shores of the loch just outside Dores, at about 18 miles - but we just kept plodding and it didn't slow us down too much.
The water stations were plentiful and well spaced-out. The marshalls were great - helpful (but firm when necessary to chivvy us along to the start!).
The new finish line is much better than the old one, so you don't feel like you're running round in circles at the end. The atmosphere coming into Inverness was amazing - I managed to high-five my husband as I went past and sprinted across the finish in 4.19!
My only minor quibble would be that the changing facilities and showers in the sports centre are a bit basic, but the showers were at least hot and very welcome!
All in all, a great race - and I've already signed up for my next marathon... Date of review: October 4, 2010
In short: Hard- but fantastic! In full: Superbly organised race. Thanks to everyone involved for making this such a great day! Scenery fantastic, support along the way was great, especially at Dores. Everyone very friendly. Hot meal and shower at the end is a great finish to a brilliant (but hard) race! Thoroughly recommended! Date of review: October 4, 2010
In short: My favourite race! In full: Fantastic organisation, couldn't fault a single thing. Magnificent route, fantastic crowd support and hot showers and free food afterwards. Date of review: October 4, 2010
In short: Great race. Very quick start with a few killer hills along the way. Knocked nearly 6 mins off my PB. Well organised. Could do with more time at start after bus drop off. Date of review: October 4, 2010
In short: Wow, what an amazing event. Well organised, stunning scenery, loads of crowd support. Hard course but well worth it. Well done to all the organisers and thank you for a wonderful day!! Date of review: October 4, 2010
In short: Gorgeous but hard In full: Loved loved loved this race. It was almost perfect. Amazing scenery, I loved the start and finish and most of the race felt like the kind of route you dream of running on. Just those hills........ but I guess they made it interesting. Date of review: October 4, 2010