Fast talker – Terry Forrest like to chat during the Loch Ness Marathon
Baxters Loch Ness Marathon runner Terry Forrest is encouraging more people to join him in this year’s race by registering before the entry deadline for guaranteed places is reached at midnight on Tuesday 1 July.
After that date, entries will only be available for overseas runners, scottishathletics members, members of affiliated UK running clubs, overseas runners, and through official charity Macmillan Cancer Care and other affiliate charities.
The race – which is also again the Scottish Marathon Championships – takes place on Sunday 27 September.
Forrest, a member of the Cairngorm Runners club, is well-known for starting at the tail-end of the field in all his races, then working his way towards the front.
Last year he overtook thousands of competitors in the Baxters Loch Ness marathon before eventually finishing in 10th position, although he had the sixth fastest time of the day after discounting the six minutes it took him to cross the starting line.
So why does he do it?
‘It’s just something I have always done,’ said Terry.
‘When I first took up running and went to a race I lacked confidence so I stood at the back as I didn’t believe I was good enough to be anywhere near the front. Then I realised it was a good feeling because I was always overtaking people, so it just seemed to work for me and I’ve done it ever since.
‘I’ve become known as ‘that crazy guy that always starts at the back of the field,’ but I really enjoy it. I won the Huddersfield marathon recently by doing it that way. It was a tough course and I was the only person to break three hours. I was proud of the fact that I had passed everyone in the race and managed to speak to a lot of them along the way.
‘This will be my seventh year doing the Baxters Loch Ness marathon and I’ve run a personal best time every year I’ve been there. I’ve done around 30 marathons and this is my favourite one. I love the whole atmosphere, it’s a real festival of running and there’s such a good feel about the whole occasion.
‘I enjoy chatting to other runners on the bus trip out to the start. It’s great to talk with people at the back of the field before the race gets underway, to hear their stories and to share experiences. Many of them tend to be doing their first marathon so I try to help them out with a bit of advice.
‘As I’m working my way past other runners I take time to speak to them and give them a bit of encouragement. I think most of them appreciate it.
‘It’s great once you get going and the course is beautiful along Loch Ness, it’s really enjoyable and when we reach the village of Dores there’s always people out cheering us along and offering the runners jelly babies.’
Terry’s performances have earned him the Gerald Cooper Memorial Cup for the past three years.
This trophy is awarded to the first Highland runner to finish the marathon and its sponsors, HSPC, make a £1000 donation to a charity of the winner’s choice.
For the first two years Terry gave the money to the Marie Curie cancer care charity and last year he donated it to Alder Hey Hospital where the new-born daughter of a friend went through a life-saving operation.
Terry said: ‘I’m really grateful to HSPC for donating the prize fund each year. It is a fantastic gesture.’
Race Director Malcolm Sutherland is delighted Terry is returning for another outing in the Highland race.
He said: ‘He’s a fantastic character and I’m amazed he has been able to finish so highly in the race every year. It would be great if we can give him even more people to chase this year. So, if anyone wants to see if they can keep ahead of Terry I’d urge them to enter as soon as possible.’
The Baxters Loch Ness marathon is the premier event on the race day programme but the festival also includes other attractive runs catering for a wide range of ages and levels of experience.
Sutherland added: ‘We try to offer something for all sectors of the running community. In addition to the marathon we have the Baxters River Ness 10Km, including a Corporate Challenge for teams, the Baxters River Ness 5Km fun run, and the Wee Nessie children’s run.
‘More than 8,500 people entered our races in 2014 and it would be great if that total was exceeded this year. There’s also a huge number of people who turn out to watch the races, particularly at the finish in Bught Park where the Event Village is located. As usual there will be plenty of activities at the Village to keep everyone entertained.’
The marathon, now in its 14th year, will host the Scottish men’s and women’s championship races for the fifth year in a row, which should attract many of the country’s top performers. The £1,500 prize for the first man and woman is also expected to be a big incentive.
Guaranteed entry for the marathon is available until 1 July; with charity, club and overseas places available until 7 September.The marathon is open to runners aged 18 and over on day of race. This event is not suitable for wheelchair entrants.
With thanks to Fraser Clyne