In short: Great but harder than I expected! In full: Having had a bit of time to think about it all the the comments about the lovely scenery are true, well worth the trip. My one and only complaint was the bus transfer to the start line which was both a long slow journey and late, my top tip is this, get on the last bus at the pick up point at bught park, you might think this strange but the road to the start is narrow and as a result the convoy of coaches park in single file along this narrow stretch of road with the first coach to depart ending up as far as possible from the start line and the few toilets while the last to depart is practically on the start line! also because the road is narrow when everyone bails out of the coaches it is incredibly crowded and difficult to get to the loos in any sort of time before the race starts, that really is my only complaint. As far as the run itself goes I checked out the elevation chart before booking this and thought to myself fantastic, it's all downhill, I am now painfully aware that the best part of 12 miles downhill knackered my knees to the extend that I thought i would not be able to finish, add to that a couple of really hard hills and I was good for nothing, having said all that I now find that when I think of the Marathons I have done this has taken a close second place for me behind the VLM as a memorable race, would I do it again! maybe if my knees were better. Date of review: November 26, 2011
In short: Fab scenery, loved the atmosphere and pleased I chose it for my first marathon In full: I've got to say that after reading all the previous reviews I approached this with some trepidation regarding the killer hills. But I put a fair amount of effort into hill training and was pleasantly surprised to find that I'd probably overtrained - so work on them, but don't let them put you off! The organisation was on the whole excellent, but I've got to say the late departure of the coaches from Inverness and the one hour plus journey to then be dropped off at the same time as the other 30 or so coaches......a recipe for carnage at the portaloos before the start. Due to the location, the support was very sparse, but was made up for by the enthusiasm of those who did show up. You can't expect to run in glorious scenery and have the route lined with people. The post-race reception was fantastic - the best bowl of soup I've ever had and proper, hot food for all runners. Loved the t-shirt and medal and felt very well looked after. Loch Ness has set the standard - it was my first marathon and it's certainly wet my appetite for more. Well done to all involved! Date of review: November 9, 2011
In short: My first marathon and what an absolutely fantastic experience !!!!!! In full: I wanted to complete at least one marathon in my lifetime and I wanted it to be an iconic and unique experience, Loch Ness certainly didn’t disappoint.
Despite training and enjoying a good plod, I don’t really consider myself a real runner so continuing to run almost to the 17-mile point surpassed my expectations. I felt really well looked after, pre and post event and out on the course. The views on the vast majority of the route are simply outstanding and the mist and hail during the beginning of the run just added to the sense of occasion. I can’t deny this was the hardest challenge I have ever completed in my life but it was also one of the most rewarding. Apart from the bus ride, (which was horrendously long with no loo provision) I loved, loved, loved the rest of the event. That feeling, running in through Inverness to the finish line, is simply indescribable. Part of me feels sad that it’s now all over; Loch Ness Marathon was my goal for almost a year.
A massive thank you to every single marshal and supporter out on the course.
In short: Love it! Love it! Love it! In full: 4th time I have done this one and its well worth the journey from London to Inverness. Brilliant organisation. Brilliant scenery. Love it! Date of review: October 22, 2011
In short: Amazing race, excellent organisation, beautiful scenery, but very lonely course In full: This was my first marathon, I had only run half marathons before (PB of 1:52 this year).
The organisation really impressed me. A whole fleet of buses to take us to a surreal start in the mist up on the moorland. Beautiful medal. Some post-race food. Ample drinks stations and Lucozade orange was a good choice. Timing device in the race number which I prefer over a chip attached to the shoe as I'm always terrified of that falling off.
I was expecting a hilly course, but I wasn't expecting it to be as hilly as this. The first 9 miles are downhill but there are a couple of sharp uphills thrown in there as well. The "flat" miles 9-17 along the lochside are in reality a little undulating. Miles 18-20ish killer uphills - more than one. The hardest thing about this race though, for me, was the loneliness aspect. Running beside Loch Ness is fantastic, I like the quietness of it at times, but until the village of Dores at mile 17/18 where the whole village is out in force, support is limited to the occasional person who has come out of a house to clap for runners. That support was really welcome and the long lochside miles without that were psychologically very hard for me. It's not until mile 24 that you come into Inverness and civilisation, and support.
Overall, this is a really great race and I would do it again, but it's hard. I'd imagine there are easier first marathons out there. Date of review: October 20, 2011
In short: A magnificent and atmospheric weekend In full: Brilliant and sometimes quirky support - always raised a smile. Coming into Inverness, the encouragement was so uplifting. And Dores was something else. Top marshalls and organisation. It's getting to be a bigger field every year? Date of review: October 19, 2011