Top class field to tackle Inverness Half Marathon

Kenny Wilson

Scotland international Kenny Wilson is relishing the prospect of facing some top quality opposition in Sunday's Inverness half marathon which has attracted a record 2,940 competitors from 13 countries.

Kenny Wilson (handicap -4.1) has shown outstanding form recently  when outsprinting Deeside's Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist Robbie Simpson (handicap -4.4) to win the Kinloss to Lossiemouth half marathon in a personal best time of 64:55

He said:"I feel I should be able to run somewhere in the 65 min range. It's a really good course and one capable of offering quick times. There's a bit of climbing until the halfway stage but if you get to that point in good shape its quite fast after that. It’s a case of not going out too hard."

Wilson is pleased that the race, now in its 36th year, will also feature athletes of the calibre of Weynay Ghebresilasie (handicap -4.3) and Cameron Strachan, who has the best running handicap score with -4.5.

He said: "Weynay won the Inverness race when I last did it and is running well at the moment. Cameron has also been in great form over the winter and it will be good to compete against him over this sort of distance."

Glasgow-based Gebreselasie has returned from a spell of altitude training in Ethiopia and last weekend the Shettleston Harriers club member was first Scottish-based finisher in London’s Big Half Marathon where he took 12th position in 64:19.

Strachan recently ran a personal best 5km road time of 13:58 at the Armagh International Road Race but subsequently pulled out of the Scottish cross country championships because of illness.

Liz Abbott (handicap 2.1) from Lancashire returns to defend her title in the women's division of the race. The Lytham St Anne's runner, who set a personal best 76:52 when winning 12 months ago in what was her first half marathon for a decade, believes she's capable of running at least as fast again. She said:"I’m excited and feeling pretty good. I did no running for 10 weeks in the autumn because of a foot injury, although I kept some fitness by doing a lot of cross training and strength and conditioning work.

"It's only recently that I've been able to judge my fitness and I was pleased to get a my fastest 5km time which is a good sign. I hope to be around personal best shape if conditions are fine, so I'm really looking forward to it."

Jennifer Wetton (handicap 1.4), who finished runner-up three years in a row between 2015 and 2017, returns for another crack at a podium position after finishing fourth in 2019. The Stirling-based mum said:"To be perfectly honest, I'm really not sure what to expect. I'm training well although I feel I'm not doing much - averaging 70 miles a week compared to 100 in previous years.

"All my sessions are on the treadmill now as my husband works away, so it's hard to tell what sort of shape I'm really in, but I feel I'm working hard and running well.  I've been able to run sub 19min with the baby buggy at flat parkrun 5kms, which is not as easy as it may look.  I'm enjoying fitting my running around my son and involving him when I can. I've not raced properly for a few months but I love racing in Inverness so didn't want to miss out. I hope I can be competitive."

Megan Crawford (handicap 3.6), who won the Loch Ness marathon in 2015, is also capable of challenging for a podium position. 

While the elites chase cash bonuses all runners are treated like champions in Inverness. The records are 64:27 set by Robbie Simpson of Deeside Runners in 2018 and 73:21 set by Kenya’s Cathy Mutwa in 2013. Hopefully this will provide an added incentive for the top runners.


Although the race has attracted a number of top calibre athletes at the sharp end, Sutherland emphasises Inverness has a good reputation for welcoming runners of every level. He said:"Everyone receives a warm welcome and the atmosphere in the stadium at the finish is always tremendous. There's also a fantastic level of support along the route. We consider every participant to be a champion.

"It's remarkable that 21% of those taking part in the half marathon are tackling this race distance for the first time. We also have an amazing range of ages taking part with Gerry McPartlin from Strathcarron the oldest at 76, while Connor Hutchison from Inverness is the youngest at 17."

"We also have a 5km fun run which has attracted more than 1,000 entrants. A limited number of places will be available on race day but anyone planning to take part should arrive early to avoid disappointment. Children aged 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult who should also enter."