Baxters Loch Ness Marathon develops future talent

Loch Ness

The Baxters Loch Ness marathon and festival of running is gaining a growing world wide reputation as a fixture which helps develop champions of the future.

Entries close in a little under two weeks time for the 12th edition of the popular Highland event which attracts participants from  all over Britain as well as from more than 30 countries across the globe.


Over the years it has featured many of Scotland's top distance runners as well as numerous emerging overseas athletes, some of whom have gone on to become world class competitors.


A typical example is African athlete, Dinknesh Mekash Tefara, who, three years ago, made the long trip from her home in Ethiopia to take part.


It was the first time Dinknesh had travelled outside her home country and she was at first shocked by the cool and wet conditions she experienced in Scotland.


The cold weather which greeted her was, however, quickly offset by the warm welcome she received during her brief stay in the Highlands.


And she rewarded the organisers by winning the women's race in a course record time of 2hrs 46min 39secs.


It was a fine performance, but one which she has surpassed dramatically in the period since.


Earlier this year Dinkesh finished fourth in a high quality Paris marathon when she recorded a new personal best and world class time of 2hr 25min 09secs.


Since making her overseas debut at Loch Ness she has improved in every race she has run and is now being tipped to go even quicker when she competes in October's Toronto marathon.


Dinknesh was supported in her trip to Inverness by the non-profit organisation, Running Across Borders, which provides coaching and support for young East African runners.


RAB founder Malcolm Anderson said: "For Dinknesh it was a four-day whirlwind trip from Addis Ababa to Loch Ness and back again.


"She had layers of clothing on and just before the race started it began to rain.


"The steely character she demonstrated to come through all that, win and beat the course record in her first trip abroad, stood her in good stead for the future.


"Dinknesh came from a poor, rural, subsistence background with very little opportunity to build a different life for herself.  Now she has her own income and independent future as a consequence of sport.


"It was the Baxters Loch Ness marathon that gave her confirmation of her talent and how running could literally change her life, which it then did. 


"Sport can’t solve every problem, but for other people living in Bekoji, where she comes from, and elsewhere in Ethiopia, Dinknesh is now an example of how it is possible to build a life beyond the village.


"The team at the Baxters Loch Ness marathon provided her with the first chance to prove herself as an athlete, and as an organisation we are forever grateful and our relationship with race director Malcolm Sutherland remains strong.



"It's a place we will always want to come back to, as it's perfect for giving new up-coming athletes a chance to compete."


Race Director Malcolm Sutherland said: "It's fantastic to hear about the progress Dinknesh has made since running at Loch Ness.


"In many respects this is what our event is about: giving people of all ages and abilities the chance, through running, to realise their dreams and goals,whatever these might be.


"We want everyone to enjoy the sense of achievement which comes with completing a race in the company of thousands of others who share the same love of taking part."


This year's event promises to be another memorable occasion with the marathon hosting the Scottish championships for the third year in a row as well as carrying a substantial prize list which includes £1500 cash awards  for the first man and woman.


The festival of running also includes the Baxters River Ness 10K and 5K runs. The 10K includes a Corporate Challenge open to teams of four to six runners. There's also a Wee Nessie run, a 400m event for youngsters aged five and under.


Sutherland added:"Our guaranteed entry process closed on 1st July but we will still be taking entries from Scottishathletics members, members of affiliated UK running clubs, and through official charity Macmillan Cancer Care and our other affiliate charities until 9th September."


Entries for the Baxters Loch Ness marathon and festival of running can be made at