In short: Easily Beats Edinburgh As Best In Scotland In full: My 3rd Loch Ness marathon and enjoyed everyone so far. Marshalls and water station staff were fantastic again. Finish area was good and much better t-shirt than previous ones. The only down point was the bus journey again, 2nd year in 3 we were late at start, this needs to be looked at. Overall still my favorite marathon, even better than London or Paris. Date of review: October 5, 2011
In full: The LNM was my first marathon and what a day I had. I was one of the unprepared runners who needed to have an unscheduled pit stop on the way to the start but there was a fantastic atmosphere on the bus and we all slow clapped the ones who needed a second stop. The race was hilly but being my first marathon I don't have anything to compare it too. I will say I ran past a lot of people walking the infamous Dores hill and my time was 4:05. I talked to lots of other runners on the day and most said it was hillier than other runs they had done so I guess you have to just enter and make your own mind up on this one.
I think some of the gripes about toilets at the bus pickup are a bit harsh as I did the run with 2 other LNM virgins and we made a point of getting to the pickup early so we could use the toilets at the other side of the field before getting on the buses. My only gripe is the start was a bit of a bottle neck and cost me the sub 4 hour time but I will know for next time and I will just start nearer the line.
The support in the early stages was fantastic when you consider the weather and the little kids handing out the water were ace, I made a point of choosing the smallest to get my bottles from (even if it meant bending down). I saw so many funny sights and one which still makes me chuckle. A girl's bra was rubbing and she just hoisted up her top and presented her boobs to the stunned first aider who tried to say something but she just said "Och, just do it!!!" He applied the plaster and she went on her way, very funny.
Anyway - I'll be back next year and It will be a sub 4 hour this time.
% star race for me. Date of review: October 5, 2011
In short: If you only run one marathon do this one. In full: My first ever marathon. Expected severe hills but all were milder than those on my training runs. Beautiful scenary and fantastic people. What an amazing weekend. Date of review: October 4, 2011
In short: Don't listen to scary stories about hills - this race has great PB potential In full: I have run 14 marathons - 5 of them being at Loch Ness. My 3 best times are at Loch Ness. Basically you roll downhill for 12 miles - have a wee mole hill around 18 miles then a pleasant canter along the river to the finish line. No problem! Well almost no problem. So, if you want a PB sign up for next year's race :) Date of review: October 4, 2011
In short: Challenging undulating hills great atmosphere and organisation In full: My second marathon and so much better atmosphere and organisation than Edinburgh in May. They could learn a lot from Loch Ness. Great camaraderie and friendly marshalls. Big thanks to the marshall who gave out chocolate fudge at 21 miles. Good finish superb medal. Hydrating before bus journey gives some urinary challenges! Expect very sore legs after from the undulations. This event is a great advert for Scotland. Date of review: October 4, 2011
In short: third time i've done this race and will be back for more! In full: The only (very small) gripe I have is that I miss the track finish. Other than that this is a fantastic event and part of a running festival Inverness (and Scotland and the UK) should be very proud of! The course is challenging enough to allow returners to scare the first timers but not so horrific as to put new runners off – I highly recommend this race. Date of review: October 4, 2011
In short: Fabulous In full: Even more enjoyable the second time around. The first half was hillier then I remembered, maybe the great downhill sections had clouded my memory of the climbs. This meant that the second half didn't feel as difficult as last year so that was a psychological bonus! Great support again in Dores and during the last couple of miles in Inverness. I have to agree with those who have mentioned the inadequate toilet situation at the start. Luckily I'm not proud and when you've got to go you've got to go, but for those more modest than I, it would have been horrendous! Great tech T shirt as well this year. All in all, another wonderful experience. I can't recommend it enough.
In full: Really enjoyed the whole experience and would recommend this race to novices and veterans alike. The undulating course makes it a little tricky to find a rhythm but also helps to avoid any feeling of monotony. There is a lot of downhill in the first half which makes for a relaxed start. To be honest the hill at Dores wasn't really as bad as I feared having read some previous reviews and it seemed to pass pretty quickly. The fact that it comes at around 18 miles makes for a good psychological turning point when you are over the other side. One suggestion I might make to others who are thinking of coming up next year is to consider staying in Fort Augustus the night before the race. We stayed at the Lovat which was really nice and very runner / child friendly. This is at the South end of the loch and is a friendly wee place. The main advantage is a longer snooze in the morning (our bus left at about 8.50am) a much shorter bus ride (I think it was about 30 mins but it didn't seem that long with pre-race nerves) and consequently much less potential for toilet problems! There is obviously a limit on accomodation in Fort Augustus but if you book early you should be ok and you could always book somewhere in Inverness after the race when your quads are torn to bits! Date of review: October 4, 2011
In short: Great scenery, hard course, and well supported by the locals. Organisers just need to make the start run smoother, although granted...must be a logistical nightmare to ship all the competitors to the start line! Date of review: October 4, 2011