The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon Entry Record broken already

Fiona Rennie

There’s three months to go until this year’s Baxters Loch Ness marathon, but the race has already chalked up one new record. More than 4,470 runners, by far the largest number in the 18 year history of the event, have signed up to tackle the stunning Highland course on 6 October. With four other supporting races, there is something for everyone including the under fives!

The cosmopolitan nature of the event is reflected in 40 different countries being represented.

The upsurge in interest doesn’t surprise Fiona Rennie (handicap 19.3), from Dunfermline, who is one of four runners to have taken part in all 17 races and is among the record number to have submitted her entry for this year’s race.

The 56 year-old Carnegie Harriers club member said: “It’s a fantastic event. It has the feel of a big city marathon but retains the friendliness of a much smaller event. Although the numbers taking part have grown, it hasn’t lost its character and it never seems too busy or congested.

“It rekindles happy memories of my childhood as we used to have family holidays in a caravan on the shores of Loch Ness, so every year now I get the chance to run past places where I used to play.

“The route has plenty of spectacular scenery. Even when you get to the uphills there are some amazing views to take your mind off them.”

Rennie has taken part in close to 130 marathons or ultra-marathons since taking up running in the mid 1980’s. She enjoyed success in longer events, competing in the first Commonwealth ultra-distance championships in 2009 where she joined up with twin sister Pauline Walker and Carnegie Harriers clubmate Lynne Kutz in a Scotland side which took team bronze medals in the 24 hour race. She was also first woman at the 2012 Glenmore 24 hour race.

She said: “I’ve probably run more ultras than marathons and I always enjoy the Glenmore race. I have, however, run the Loch Ness marathon more often than any other marathon or long race.”

Rennie has maintained her unbroken streak of appearances in the Highland race despite suffering two major health scares along the way. In April 2005 she suffered a brain haemorrhage and in February 2013 she was diagnosed with mouth cancer, but in both years she bravely bounced back to get into shape for the marathon.

She said: “I had major surgery on the mouth cancer in March 2013 but still managed to get round the marathon in under six hours. Having the marathon to focus on was a motivating factor in my recovery.”

Her aims this year are modest but typify what the Loch Ness marathon is all about. She said: “For me the time on the watch isn’t important. It’s all about enjoying the experience. I hope to keep doing it so long as my legs keep working. I’ve no intentions of stopping.”

Race Director Malcolm Sutherland is inspired by Rennie’s story. He said: “Fiona has been a tremendous supporter of our race from the very beginning and it’s quite humbling to hear how determined she has been to keep running here despite the health challenges she faced. I hope she’ll be joining us many more times in the future.

He added:  “It’s amazing to reflect on how the event has grown since our first race in 2002 when Fiona was one of 600 people who took part and now we have more than 4,000. On top of that we have thousands more in the River Ness 10km, which was added to the race day programme in 2004. The 10km course is one of the fastest in the country and provides a fantastic opportunity for people to set personal best times. We also have the River Ness 5km and the Wee Nessie run for under-5’s, so there really is something for everyone.

“We expect even more runners to join us. Guaranteed marathon entry is available until 22 July but club runners, overseas runners and those signing up with one of our official charities will be able to enter until 24 September. Entries for the River Ness 10km and 10km Corporate Challenge remain open until 24 September while there will be limited race weekend entries for only the River Ness 5km and Wee Nessie run.”

For help and advice training for the Marathon, go to the Training and Advice section of our website.

For a marathon programme to get you round click here.

For a sub-4 hour marathon programme click here.

For a sub-3 hour marathon programme click here