Thirteen proved to be anything by unlucky for runners who crossed the finish line of the Inverness Half Marathon and its accompanying 5K Fun Run today.
Superstitions about completing a 13.1 mile race on the 13th day of the month did not deter runners from all over the UK from turning up to take part.
By doing so, they have helped to raise thousands of pounds for good causes,including the event’s official charity, Highland Hospice.
The winner and the first male to cross the line of the half marathon was Andrew Douglas of North Highland Harriers in a time of 01:05:39, while the first female was Central AC’s Fanni Gyurko in 01:17:45. Winners of the North District Championship were Andrew Douglas and Marie Baxter of Garioch Road Runners, who completed the half marathon in 01:25:54.
The 5K was won by Jenny Bannerman of Inverness Harriers, who completed the course in 17:27 and first male was Lucas Cairns, also Inverness Harriers, in 18:48.
Both events finished on the track at Queen’s Park Stadium, where huge crowds gathered to cheer them on.
Race director Malcolm Sutherland says, “Runners can be notoriously superstitious people, so we did wonder if running 13 miles on the 13th would make people think twice, but there were no such worries at all.
“We were very pleased with the level of entries, and the spread of participants from all over Scotland and beyond shows that people are willing to travel to take part in quality events like the Inverness Half Marathon.
“It was a fantastic day with perfect running conditions and it was great to see so many people with wide smiles on their faces as they crossed the line.
“Our congratulations go to each and every participant. Regardless if they were first to cross the line or one of the tail end runners, they all achieved something to be proud of today.”
The half marathon followed a course starting on Bught Road and out into the suburbs of Inverness before returning to the city centre. The 5K, which was completed by adults and children, also started at the same point, and followed a scenic route alongside the River Ness.
Many runners were raising money for good causes, including the event’s official charity – Highland Hospice. Money raised through the Inverness Half Marathon and 5K will go towards the hospice’s Project Build Campaign.
Around £900,000 from the £4.5m target still needs to be raised to help cover the costs of doubling the size of the in-patient department, upgrading the day therapies centre and improving other facilities.
Malcolm adds, “It is a real honour for us to be associated with Highland Hospice and to know that such a vital facility for the area is benefiting from the efforts of runners who took part.”
Further information about the half marathon, including all results, is available at www.invernesshalfmarathon.co.uk