A new world record could be set at the Inverness Half Marathon – by a man dressed as a bee. Kenny Steele will attempt to smash the record for the fastest half marathon time by a runner in a mascot suit when the race takes to the streets of the Highland capital on Sunday, March 8.
Kenny (47) is chief executive officer of Highland Hospice – the official charity partner of the Inverness Half Marathon – and will complete the 13.1 miles dressed as their cuddly mascot, Bobby the Bee.
The current official world record is held by Jefferson the Dog, who completed the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in a time of 1.46.27 in 2011. Kenny hopes that he will be able to beat that time – even though his costume is around 8ft tall – and raise lots of money for the hospice in the process.
Kenny, who started running with local club Inverness Harriers two years ago, completed last year’s race in 1.22.58 – his current personal best.
He adds, “It’s going to be a new challenge for me personally and I really hope that Bobby the Bee and I can beat the world record. It’s very ambitious, but I think it reflects the challenge for the Highland Hospice and the local community this year to raise the remaining £1.9m needed to rebuild our inpatient unit in Inverness.”
Kenny will be just one of hundreds of runners taking part in the Inverness Half Marathon this spring. Over 2,000 entrants have already registered, and runners have until February 17th to get their entries in.
The half marathon route starts on the riverside at Bught Park and follows the River Ness before following roads around the south of the city centre. It returns to the river and a spectacular finish on the track at Queen’s Park Stadium.
In addition to the half marathon, there is a 5K fun run which is also open to children accompanied by adults. It follows a route alongside the River Ness, and also finishes at the stadium.
Race director Malcolm Sutherland says, “As an event organiser, you always dream that a world record will be set at one of your races. However, I never expected that the record might come in the form of an 8ft tall bumble bee.
“We’re delighted to once again be partnering with the Highland Hospice, which provides such great support to the community of the Highlands. We wish Kenny all the best for the event, and in his endeavours to raise money for such a wonderful cause.
“The level of interest in this year’s event has been fantastic, both from seasoned runners and from people who are taking part for the first time. Having a 5K on the race day programme ensures that we can provide an event for everyone to enjoy, regardless of their ability. Everyone can come and join in the incredible atmosphere whether they want to run, jog or walk.
“It is a hugely popular course because it is so scenic, but also because it is relatively flat with no particularly testing hills. It is the ideal course for those looking to improve their PB, and for runners making their half marathon debut.”
Highland Hospice will have a number of other runners taking part in both the half marathon and 5K, and they will all be raising money for the £4.5m rebuild appeal. The project will result in upgrades to a number of facilities. The size of the inpatient unit will be doubled, leading to an improvement in family accommodation. Construction is due to start in May, with fund-raising continuing throughout the 14-month building period.
Entries for the Inverness Half Marathon & 5K Fun Run close on February 17 with limited 5K entries available on the day. Further information about both events is available at www.invernesshalfmarathon.co.