More than 8,000 runners will take part in the Loch Ness Marathon – with just under half of the competitors arriving in the Highlands from outside Scotland.
Runners from across the UK and overseas will compete in the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running on Sunday.
Throughout the day, runners and spectators will take to the streets for the marathon, River Ness 10K, 10K Corporate Challenge, River Ness 5K and Wee Nessie for pre-school children.
Organisers say the event will have a “truly international flavour this year” – with runners travelling from as far afield as Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and Hong Kong.
The best represented countries outside of the UK will be the United States of America, France and Germany.
Race director Malcolm Sutherland says everyone involved in the Baxters Festival of Running is looking forward to another successful event in the highlands.
He adds: “Inverness is buzzing ahead of the marathon this weekend, and already runners are arriving to take advantage of the Highland hospitality before they pull on their running shoes. The local community has really embraced the event over the last 16 years, and their support helps us create a memorable race for the thousands of runners who attend every year.
“We are also incredibly proud that so much money has been raised over the years to benefit so many charities and good causes, including our official charity – Macmillan Cancer Support – which hopes to raise in excess of £75,000 this year to help people living with cancer and their families.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, adds:“It is fantastic to once again welcome thousands of running enthusiasts from across Scotland and around the world to the Highlands for the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running. The shores of Loch Ness will provide the perfect stage for the action, with the stunning setting adding to the experience for both participants and spectators alike.”
Inverness’ Bught Park will once again be home to the finish line and the Event Village, where runners and spectators can enjoy entertainment and snap up the final limited River Ness 5K and Wee Nessie entries. The free-to-enter Event Village will feature a Sports Expo, open all weekend, offering marathon-sized offers from well-known brands and providing runners with last-minute race day essentials and samples; the Baxters Food & Drink Fayre, where visitors will be able to sample delicious food and drink from local Highland producers and visit the Baxters Kitchen.
On Saturday night, the Event Village will also play host to the annual pasta party, where runners can banish any pre-race nerves while carb-loading, entering prize draws, and listening to guest speakers from the running industry with Bryan Burnett.
For more information about the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running – including temporary traffic restrictions – visit www.lochnessmarathon.com