The shores of Loch Ness were filled last weekend with excited runners at the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running.
The landmark 20th anniversary event attracted over 7,300 entrants – which included the Baxters River Ness 10K, 10K Corporate Challenge, Baxters River Ness 5K, and Wee Nessie race for children alongside the title Baxters Loch Ness Marathon.
Dougie Selman from Corstorphine AAC triumphed in the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon, crossing the line of the bucket-list, point-to-point race in a time of 02:23:53. In what was only his second ever marathon, he beat favourite – and 2019 champion – Isaiah Kosgei into second place.
Jemima Farley was the first female finisher, with a finish time of 02:42:40. Completing the course in the second fastest female time ever, she was inspired to enter the marathon after seeing her dad enter when she was a child.
Mhairi Maclennan of Inverness Harriers clinched a new course record for the Baxters River Ness 10K, beating the previous female record by an incredible 46 seconds in a time of 00:33:00. And Lachlan Oates from Shettleston Harriers won the race overall in a time of 00:30:26.
The first male and female runners across the Baxters River Ness 5K finish line were Cameron Green of Giffnock North in 00:15:21, and Lois Macrae from Inverness Harriers in a time of 00:17:58. UHI Inverness 1 scored the title in the 10K Corporate Challenge.
Malcolm Sutherland, race director, said: “To have reached our 20th marathon feels quite incredible, and it has been amazing to see so many runners taking to the roads here in the Highlands and appreciating our beautiful corner of the world – including three who have competed in every race since we started in 2002.
“Being our anniversary year and seeing a new course record set in the 10K has made the event extra special, and we’ve been delighted to welcome so many runners from across the globe to the Highlands – 56% of marathon runners were from outside Scotland, with 13.5% from overseas.
“We’d like to offer a huge thank you to our amazing team of 500 volunteers, some of whom have been with us since our first marathon – we really couldn’t do it without them. And also to Baxters and our other sponsors and partners for their continued support.
“Early bird entries for our 2023 marathon are open now, and we’ve already seen a high level of interest from runners keen to return to the Highlands next year. After such a successful 20 years, we’re looking forward to the next 20 – and many more beyond that.”
Audrey Baxter, executive chairman and group CEO of title sponsor Baxters, added: “Congratulations to everyone who took part in the 20th edition of the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running. Every year the event offers a unique and memorable experience for all the runners as well as bringing a real buzz along the banks of beautiful Loch Ness and the town of Inverness.
“Baxters’ ethos is to ‘be different, be better’ and one of the reasons we have supported the event since day one is because those taking part have the chance to demonstrate these qualities in their endeavours and achievements; whether they are striving for a personal goal or fundraising for a cause important to them. Well done to every runner who has taken part this year and to the festival team for delivering another hugely successful event.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland director of events, said: “I was delighted that EventScotland supported the 2022 edition of the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon through the International Events Funding Programme, helping them deliver another outstanding event, and would like to congratulate all of the runners, especially Dougie Selman and Jemima Farley. The banks of Loch Ness truly provide the perfect stage for a world-class marathon and it was wonderful to see the event so well attended and enjoyed.”
The event also provided an ideal opportunity for charity supporters to fundraise for the causes closest to their hearts. Hundreds of runners donned their running shoes in support of the event’s 40 charity partners, with tens of thousands of pounds expected to be raised.
Sophie Hodgson, challenge events programme manager at lead charity Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We had an incredible time at the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon. We had a fantastic team of 170 runners who together raised over £60,000. We want you to know that your support really does make a difference to those affected by cancer.
“If you didn’t manage to sign up to the 2022 Baxters Loch Ness Marathon, we would love you to join Team Macmillan in 2023!”
The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running is one of the world’s most popular running events, and takes place in 2023 on October 1. Early bird entry for all races is open now – sign up at www.lochnessmarathon.com.
The point-to-point marathon starts in atmospheric Highland moorlands, stretching 26.2 miles along the south-eastern shores of the iconic Loch Ness and finishing in the Highland capital, Inverness. The Festival of Running also comprises the River Ness 10K and 10K Corporate Challenge; River Ness 5K; and the Wee Nessie for under-5s.