The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon celebrates its 15th anniversary this year – and a southside runner is set to go the distance by becoming one of only three people to take part in every race.
The race has a very special place in the heart of Lucy Mackay – she once lived just a few miles away from the start line at Fort Augustus, where she met her husband, and her two sons were born there.
For that reason the 51-year-old Bellahouston Road Runners member signed up for this year’s race, which takes place on Sunday, September 25, as soon as entries opened - just as she has done for the past 14 years.
“It’s my favourite marathon,” she says. “Sometimes in big races, the noise can be overwhelming, but at Loch Ness all you hear is breathing and footsteps. It’s something really special.
“What really helps make it for me is the friendly atmosphere. The organisers and marshalls are fantastic, and the supporters in Inverness are among the most enthusiastic I’ve ever encountered.
“I loved living in Fort Augustus. I used to regularly run out the road from the village out towards where the start line is at Whitebridge, so it brings back very special memories. It’s one that I do every year – and I’ll keep doing it every year for as long as I can. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.”
Lucy will be part of a trio of runners who have notched up the incredible achievement of taking part in all 15 races.
Race director Malcolm Sutherland is full of praise for the dedication shown by the three stalwarts. He adds, “They are fantastic ambassadors for the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon, and I cannot imagine holding the event without them.
“Our event has become known as a bucket list marathon – it is one that many runners want to tick off their list. But what they often find is that once is never enough - the sheer beauty of the course and the incredible atmosphere keep them coming back time and time again.”
The lead charity partner of the event is Macmillan Cancer Support, with Alzheimer Scotland, Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland, Highland Hospice, MND Scotland and MS Society Scotland also benefitting.
Guaranteed places are available until July 1, with charity, club and overseas places available thereafter.
Find out more about the day at www.lochnessmarathon.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/lochnessmarathon and on Twitter @nessmarathon.