Scotland international Robbie Simpson is to compete in the Inverness half marathon on March 11 as a vital part of his preparations for the Commonwealth Games.
But anyone hoping to line-up alongside the top-rated Banchory runner needs to get off their marks sharply.
The race through the Highland capital, now in its 34th year, has already attracted a record number of entries, with the capacity figure of 2,800 expected to be reached before the February 20 closing date.
Simpson, who will represent Scotland in the marathon along with Kilbarchan AAC Olympian Callum Hawkins at Gold Coast in Australia in April, has returned from a six-week spell of warm weather training in southern Spain and is eagerly looking forward to competing in Inverness.
He said: “I’d really like to fit in a few races at home before I go out to Australia so I know how things are going and to help me get into peak shape.
“The Inverness half marathon is only a few days before I fly to Gold Coast so it might work with my plans to try and run a fast race there then have some easier days around the time of travel. I really like the course at Inverness and I have good memories from when I won in 2014 so it’d be a perfect last race before the Commonwealths.”
Inverness race director Malcolm Sutherland is delighted that such a high calibre athlete as Simpson has chosen to run in the event.
He said: “It is fantastic that Robbie feels our event will provide him with the perfect opportunity to test his fitness ahead of going to the Commonwealth Games.
“There are many other good athletes taking part so it is shaping up to be a fast race and a memorable occasion. I don’t know if Robbie is likely to be tempted to attack the event record time of 1hr 4min 32sec set by Peter Fleming in 1993 but it would be great if he could.
“It’s a great chance too for runners of all levels of ability and experience to join Robbie in the race. It’s not every day you can run with a Commonwealth Games athlete.
“And, like him, for anyone else aiming for a spring marathon, our race comes at a perfect time on the calendar. There’s not too many places left, however, so I’d encourage people to sign up as soon
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