Nicola Duncan looks for a fast run at Inverness

Inverness Half Marathon

Nicola Duncan (handicap MINUS 0.2) has given the Global Energy Inverness half marathon a major boost by choosing to sign up for the 30th anniversary edition of the race which takes place on 9th March.

The 31 year-old, who comes from Galway, has lived in Edinburghfor the past decade and competes for Portobello Running Club.


Formerly a tennis player, Nicola took up running about six years ago but it's only over the past 18 months that she has been training seriously. Her progress has been rapid and she has taken her handicap score from 7.7, at the end of April 2012, to below scratch when she ran 2:36 at the TCS Amsterdam Marathon ;last October. She is now on the verge of being picked to represent her native Ireland in the marathon at this year's European championships in Zurich.


Nicola dipped under the 2hr 38min qualifying standard by recording 2:36:44, an improvement of 13mins on her previous best, when she finished eighth in Amsterdam. That should be good enough to earn her a place on the team for Switzerland, but she is taking nothing for granted at this stage.


She said: "The initial team pre-selections will be made at the end of January and the rest will be confirmed in May. At the moment I'm the only girl with the marathon qualifying time, so I'm quite hopeful.


"I might, however, do the London marathon in April just to get a bit more experience of a big race as I haven't really done very many and I still have a lot to learn.


"Until 18 months ago I only ran a couple of times a week and didn't really know what to do, but now I'm training a lot more and I'm really enjoying it, which is the most important thing."


Nicola's  plans include a trip to Inverness in March where she hopes to improve on her previous best half marathon performance.  She said:"Quite a few people have told me that the Inverness course is fantastic and that it's one with potential for fast times. My best time is 1hr 16min 29secs but I feel as though I should be able to go faster given the right conditions."


Nicola has never been to Inverness but has happy memories of her last trip to the North when she won the Scottish half marathon title at Elgin in September.


She is currently in good form, having finished runner-up behind Fiona Thompson (Central AC) in the Scottish inter-district cross country championships at Edinburgh's Holyrood Park earlier this month.


On current form she will be difficult to beat in the battle for the £1,000 top prize in Inverness. She may also test the current women's course record time of 1:13:21set by Kenya's Cathy Mutwa in 2007.


Nicola also intends to tackle a couple of other major races before heading for Inverness.  She said:"I'm thinking about doing the Barcelona half marathon and the national cross country championships  at Falkirk, both of which are in February."        


Race Director Malcolm Sutherland is delighted Nicola has decided to come to Inverness. He said: “Nicola is a very talented athlete and we are privileged that she has chosen to compete in our race. We have been fortunate in attracting many top class runners here in recent years and this continues the trend. It promises to be an exciting day.”


While the half marathon is the premier event on the Invernessprogramme, the Global Energy 5K fun run and the Global Energy 5Km Team Attack are attracting strong interest.


Individuals can take part in the 5Km while the Team Attack is open to clubs, businesses, or groups of friends who can enter teams of four. Prizes will be based on the cumulative time of the four runners.


Entries for the half marathon, 5Km and Team Attack close on 19th February. Full details can be found at

Are you planning to improve your half marathon performance? Check out our ten week schedules in our runfurther and runfaster sections of the Training and Advice section of the website. You still have ten weeks to go before these spring half marathons:

Croydon Half Marathon

Brooks Paddock Wood Half Marathon

Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon

Belvoir Half Marathon

Tavistock Half Marathon

SIG Insulation Sheffield Half Marathon

Bungay Half Marathon

White Horse Half Marathon

Blackpool Half Marathon

Taunton Half Marathon

Ironbridge Half Marathon

Great Welsh Half Marathon