In short: For a first timer I felt great to compete, and complete even though I was about 20 minutes slower than expected. The hospitality in Inverness exceeded my expectations. I can't think of a better way to see Scotland for the first time. Date of review: October 6, 2008
In short: An excellent alternative to a big city marathon In full: Despite the remote location, Inverness is accessible by budget airlines and train. Spent three days here to break up the journey, and really enjoyed my stay.
This marathon is run point-to-point which I prefer to out-and-backs/loops. Something about being abandoned 25 miles from Inverness, and having to rely on your running to get you back to civilization. The transportation to the start was organised efficiently - the bus journey allowed you to chat with other runners which helped to dispel any pre-race nerves. Once at the start, we had an hour to prepare, and everything seem ordered with plenty of toilets, good communication, baggage collection, and a structured start.
Weather was cool and dry - perfect. Sufficient water stations and the added bonus of lucozade sport stations at 5 mile intervals. Clear course markings, traffic free, and plenty of marshals and medical help points.Little pockets of support and thanks to the house belting out the loud Scottish music, and large crowds cheering us on through the last couple of miles in Inverness.
The route is quite varied and incredibly scenic. With the Loch regularly in view, this did help to distract from the pain and tiredness. A friend described this as a PB course although I would say that the first few miles felt up and down with that hill at 4 miles knocking me out of my stride. There was a flat mid-section which allows you to finally get into a rythym. The hill at 17/18 miles was not as bad as reported but did drag on a bit. The final 6 miles were nice and flat but the damage had already been done - the final mile around the back of the stadium was mentally tough as you could hear the announcer's commentary of the finishers - however, once inside the stadium, you were treated to a grandstand finish which felt glorious to this exhausted soul.
A beautiful medal, decent t-shirt, 2 tins of soup that made the journey home, a great post-race meal with live music entertainment. The pre-race pasty party also had music entertainment, and there were a few bargains at the small expo with registration.
This is a very special marathon with lots of nice touches by the organisers. Inverness and the surrounding areas were completely behind the event, and I've never met so many genuine and friendly people. This will be on my list again next year. Thanks very much to everyone who were involved. The only thing I'm not too sure about is what to do with the Scottish flag? Date of review: October 6, 2008
In short: One you MUST do....! In full: Chose this as my first marathon and absolutely loved it. Had an 800 mile round trip with the family so was a major undertaking but everything about Inverness was great for us all.
As for the race, the transport to the start was so well organised and I could not believe how amazing it was at the start line as the weather had come good too.
The first few miles were nice and compact with a few ups and downs but incredibly pleasant. Alongside the loch the long stretch there were so many folks to speak to and everyone was so friendly.
As for the hill, I was ready for them and managed ok, only after the hill did I realise the effect they had made...! The last few miles were mainly flat and downhill, all the support coming into town helped most of the pain disappear.
The finish was great, so well organised and plenty of goodies for immediate recovery and the family on hand. All in all, a perfect end to a perfect day.....plus it's the most work I've ever had to do for a jar of pickled onions.....! Date of review: October 6, 2008
In short: If you want a challenging marathon in one of the most beautiful places in the UK, with supportive other runners, marshals and spectators this is the race for you. I'll be back next year. Date of review: October 6, 2008
In short: A Monster 'Tastic Marathon In full: My second time at Loch Ness. Its certainly easier when you know what to expect of the terrain!
A great race overall with fantastic organisation. The trip to the start involves a convoy of coaches with Harley Davidson motorcycle outriders clearing the road ahead, every coach company in the Highlands must be employed on this race. The trip all ran smoothly leaving time for toilet queuing / changing and a warming tea at the start.
Start is in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by glorious countryside, great run down to the lochside, a few short sharp uphills, then on to the dreaded hill at 17.5 to 20, once over that its plain sailing into Inverness for the last 6 miles. Great crowds and support at Dores, and before that a great touch was some locals who had attached a speaker to their farm gate and were blasting out Scottish music and cheering the runners.
A very nice medal and a very very generous goody bag, my only (very insignificant) fault of which I could say is there is so much in it (its sooooo heavy!) its like the last thing you want to carry when you have ran 26 miles! But I soon passed it on to my support to carry! Two tins of soup and two jars of pickle, a choc muffin, a banana, a t-shirt, a bottle of water and two bottles of lucozade sport. A minor suggestion, could we have a small bar of choc instead of two tins of soup? This comes from the sponsors I suppose, but something sugary and edible straight away would be better than something you have to carry home to cook. Some Canadians in the same b+b as me gave all the food from their goody bag to the landlord as they could not take it on the plane home, which I thought was a bit of a shame. But hey, I'm not complaining at all, the last (half) mara I did was advertised as having a goody bag and we got nothing at all, so this was an abundance of goodies!!
Overall a fantastic and highly recommended, well organised, friendly Scottish race. A must do event for a taste of the Highlands. Date of review: October 6, 2008
In short: Fantastic race - defintely worth the journey. In full: My 3rd marathon after London & Dublin and the most enjoyable. From the fantastic organisation, to the amazing scenery, very friendly people and excellent goody bag & post race meal & entertainiment. There are a few tough moments, but manageable with a bit of hill training in the build up. The weather was perfect & I got a p.b. What more could you ask for in a marathon??!!!! Date of review: October 6, 2008
In short: Do it! In full: The organisation was flawless, getting gun-time and position by text immediately afterwards was a nice surprise and how did they do that thing with the weather?!!
My entire 48hour visit to Inverness was wonderful and though it's not exactly on everyone's doorstep, I'd recommend this race to anyone looking for an alternative to the more crowded city marathons. Date of review: October 6, 2008
In short: Excellent Race - possible the friendliest marathon in the UK In full: I did this marathon on a whim, and was not sure whether or not I would drop out as the field size was a lot smaller than most other marathons I have ran. I am glad I didn't.
The expo, albeit small, was well organised with friendly staff and great food and entertainment at the pasta party. On race day, the transfer to the start area was very well organised, as was the parking in and around the finish area (free on a Sunday, though 10 minutes of extra pain could have been avoided if it was clearer what residential streets were closing).
The race itself was totally flawless. The started runners were gee-ed up by a pipe band and a pretty cool helicopter 'fly-past' by the race film crew. The course itself was undualating, but not tricky. The first 15 miles can be ran fairly quick to save for the few of minutes that you will inevitably loose on miles 16-19. The fact that I managed a 15 minute PB on this course with less training than my previous marathon suggests that the majority of the undulation actually decreases the pain in your legs. The profile is actually downhill for the first 4 miles, sharp uphill for a mile downhill for another 4 miles, pancake flat for 7 miles, sharp uphill for 3 and downhill for the last 6 (what comes up must come down). With typical Highland weather in the autumn, this would have been a more testing run than what it was but it was perfect.
Did I mention the top-notch goody bag with lots of nice Baxters food, cracking medal, and Saltire flag.............. Date of review: October 6, 2008