The Global Energy Inverness ½ Marathon produced a day of thrilling, tightly-fought races starting off in near perfect running conditions today (Sunday, 17th March).

The Inverness ½ Marathon, 5K Team Attack and 5K Fun Run races attracted a record entry of over 3250 runners, and a huge crowd of enthusiastic supporters turned out to encourage competitors of all ages and abilities.

Ethiopia’s Hailu Million out-sprinted local favourite Joe Symonds in a nail-biting finish to the ½ Marathon. Inverness-based Symonds, a member of the Hunters Bog Trotters club led with 250m to go, but the African timed his final effort to perfection and edged into pole position over the final 100m on the Queen’s Park stadium track.

Million raced home in 1hr 6min 22sec to lift the £1,000 top prize with Symonds being one of a number of athletes to set a new personal best time when finishing just one second behind.

Ross Houston (Central AC), who won the Loch Ness Marathon last September, was third in 1:06:30 while his Central AC club mate John Newsom smashed his previous best time taking fourth position in 1:06:35.

Million, who was making his first appearance in Scotland, was obviously pleased with the result. He said: “It was a good race and I am very happy. I was confident I could win at the finish but I was up against some good runners and I had to work hard.”

Symonds, who hopes to achieve a Scottish Commonwealth Games marathon qualifying time in Rotterdam next month, was disappointed not to be able to hold onto his lead but took a lot of satisfaction from the performance.

He said: “The time is exactly what I was looking for and it sets me up really well for Rotterdam.

“It was a great race. The pace throughout was just what I was hoping it would be. Hailu pulled away a few times but kept coming back to us and there were still four of us together with three or four miles to go when I decided to up the pace.

“I went all out and Hailu came with me but he just outpaced me at the end. Despite that, I’m really chuffed.”

Sixth-placed Kyle Greig clocked 1:09:05 to lead Forres Harriers to the men’s team award with support from Gordon Lennox who was eighth in 1:10:51 and over-50 age group champion Stan Mackenzie who was 22nd in 1:16:30

Gillian Carr (Corstorphine AC) was surprised, but overwhelmed, to pick up the £1,000 prize for winning the women’s division of the race in a personal best time of 1:26:08.

She said: “I never thought I would ever win this race. I’ve done it a few times in the past, but never featured in the top three. It was a great feeling to see the winner’s ribbon in front of me when I reached the finish.”

Moray’s Louise Cartmell bettered her previous best time when finishing second in 1:28:03 and it was a similar story from third-placed Tammy Wilson (Garioch Road Runners) who also clocked a lifetime best of 1:28:31.

Cartmell also led Moray Road Runners to the women’s team prize with backing from Elspeth Jenkins, who also won the individual over-40 age group award, and Michelle Green who was 23rd in 1:35:23.

Greig Glendinning (Bellahouston Road Runners) won the over-40 men’s prize when recording 1:14:41 for 14th position overall and Sandy Hastie (Peterhead JogScotland) was the top over-60 in 1:32:25.

Phyllis O’Brien (Hunters Bog Trotters) headed the over-50 women’s field in 1:37:04 while Liz Gray (Inverness Harriers) was first over-60 in 1:51:40.

The Graeme Moffat Memorial Quaich, for the first member of Inverness Harriers to finish the race, went to Andrew MacRae who recorded 1:20:27 in 37th position.

This year’s 5K Fun Run attracted a record number of over 1100 runners more than a third of which came from Highland schools and youth clubs. While many ran for their own enjoyment and personal challenge, there were plenty who ran with a competitive spirit. Hugh Campbell (East Sutherland AC) led home the field while Jenny Bannerman (Inverness Harriers) was the leading woman.

Malcolm Sutherland, Race Director said: “This year’s front runners in the ½ Marathon supplied us with a thrilling race right to the finish line, and it seems many PBs were achieved today.

“We’re delighted to have had a record number of entries for this year’s 5K Fun Run, particularly as so many of those getting involved are young runners.

“And the 5K Team Attack seems to have caught the imagination of many runners who prefer to run as a team, as we had a record 25 teams on the starting line today. It was a very competitive race.”

The second year of the team event, the 5K Team Attack, attracted a competitive field of 25 running teams of four who battled it out for the top prizes of fastest men’s, women’s, mixed and corporate teams. The fastest corporate team (and the fastest team on the day) was The 3 SCOTS – Zachary Smyth, Alexander Deck, Jamie Tait and Andy Richards all based at Fort George – who crossed the finish line with an aggregate time of 1:14:46 from their four scoring runners.

The fastest mixed team Lifescan Lightening Bolts – Michael O’Connell, Alastair Traquair, Gavin Whiteside and Hilary Cameron from Maryburgh – finished in a time of 1:14:55. The first men’s team across the line was The 3 SCOTS Seniors, comprising Ross McBride, Graham Parker, Ross Beaton and Josh Carpenter based at Fort George completed the race in 1:16:31, less than two minutes behind their overall winning colleagues.

The fastest women’s team on the day was representing the event’s official charity. ARCHIE’s Athletes – Katy Orock, Allana MacKay, Pamela MacKay and Jenny Gardiner – said they were delighted and shocked to find themselves crossing the line with the winning accumulative female team time of 1:57:09.

ARCHIE’s Fundraising Manager, Allana MacKay who ran with the team could not believe they had won. “We thoroughly enjoyed taking part and were thrilled to be the first lady’s team over the line. The day has been so well organised and there has been a fantastic buzz about the place.

“The ARCHIE Foundation has really appreciated the support from event organisers Caledonian Concepts and title sponsor Global Energy Group over the past two years. We know that every single penny raised by runners will make a real difference to sick children in the Highlands.”

Alastair Kennedy, Global Energy Group Communications Director commented: “Today has been a great success – record entries, personal bests, first time winners and a really exciting atmosphere throughout. We’re delighted that so many people turned up to compete, and we hope they all enjoyed the experience.”

Global Energy Inverness ½ Marathon Results

Men: 1 H. Million (Ethiopia) 1hr 06min 22sec; 2 J. Symonds (Hunters Bog Trotters) 1:06:23; 3 R. Houston (Central) 1:06:30; 4 J. Newsom (Central) 1:06:35; 5 S. Trainer (Greenock Glenpark) 1:08:11; 6 K. Greig (Forres) 1:09:05; 7 P. Gierjatowicz (Edinburgh University) 1:10:22; 8 G. Lennox (Forres) 1:10:52; 9 M. Pollard (Inverclyde) 1:11:41; 10 B. Clark (Corstorphine) 1:11:45.

Over-40: 1 G. Glendinning (Bellahouston RR) 1:14:41; 2 M. Ferguson (Edinburgh AC) 1:18:14; 3 A. Keith (Hunters Bog Trotters) 1:19:41.

Over-50: 1 S. MacKenzie (Forres) 1:16;30; 2 R. Taylor (Metro Aberdeen) 1:19:57; 3 W. Stock 1:25:17.

Over-60: 1 A. Hastie (Peterhead JS) 1:32:35; 2 R. Aiken (Keith) 1:33:05; 3 C. Youngson (Forres) 1:36:08.

Teams: 1 Forres Harriers; 2 Hunters Bog Trotters; 3 Edinburgh AC.

Women: 1 G. Carr (Corstorphine) 1:26:08; 2 L. Cartmell (Moray) 1:28:03; 3 T. Wilson (Garioch) 1:28:31; 4 M. Baxter 1:29:08; 5 F. Drake (Corstorphine) 1:29:12; 6 E. Jenkins (Moray, over-40) 1:29:29; 7 V. Forman 1:29:41; 8 J. Lynch (Inverness Harriers) 1:29:51; 9 A. Wilson (Inverness Harriers, over-40) 1:30:07. 10 F. Macritchie, over-40, 1:30:11.

Over-50: 1 P. O’Brien (Hunters Bog Trotters) 1:37:04; 2 K. Kynaston (Kilbarchan) 1:41:25; 3 M. Nicolson (Inverness Harriers) 1:43:16.

Over-60: 1 L. Gray (Inverness Harriers) 1:51:40; 2 A. Docherty (Forres) 1:56:02; 3 D. Campbell 2:06:51.

Teams: 1 Moray Road Runners; 2 Inverness Harriers; 3 Metro Aberdeen

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