An epic athletics duel will take place in the Highlands this weekend as two runners go head to head in a bid to set a new world record for the fastest half marathon – by a mascot. After learning that Bobby the Bee – the official mascot of the Highland Hospice – was aiming to set a world best time at the Inverness Half Marathon, Harvey the Heart has now thrown his hat into the ring.
And it seems that Bobby, who will be powered by Highland Hospice chief executive officer Kenny Steele, may just have some competition when he gets under starter’s orders on Sunday. Harvey represents the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow, and already holds the world record for the fastest marathon by a mascot: 3.51.00 set in London last year.
Frank Gilroy has worn the Harvey the Heart outfit at races up and down the country and is confident that he may just give Bobby the Bee a run for his money. Frank, a member of the Bellahouston Harriers running club, has already achieved a time of 1.39.00 over the 13.1 miles dressed in his charity ensemble.
The time recorded at the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow last year is quicker than the official world record held by Jefferson the Dog, who completed the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in 1.46.27 in 2011.
“However, we did not have the time officially recorded, so Jefferson’s record stands,“ explains Frank (51). “When we heard that Bobby was attempting to set a world record, we thought the chance to have a showdown between two mascots representing two truly amazing hospices was too good an opportunity to miss.
“Bobby may have the home advantage but I will have him in my sights. I am going into the race with one simple strategy – to beat Bobby the Bee.”
Kenny (47) adds, “This late challenge has taken the race to a whole new level for me. Bobby may look cute and cuddly but he will be showing Harvey that, when it comes to running, he has a real sting in his tail.
“With the support of the people of Inverness behind me, I am sure that Harvey will buzz off back home defeated. I hope that our own little battle will add something to the atmosphere of the day, not least help to highlight the great work being done by both organisations. “
Kenny has been running with Inverness Harriers for several years and currently has a half marathon personal best – set at Inverness last year- of 1.22.58. All money raised by Kenny and the team of runners pounding the course for Highland Hospice – the official charity partner of the Inverness Half Marathon – will go towards its rebuild project.
Highland Hospice needs to raise a further £1.9m to rebuild the inpatient unit at Inverness. The project will lead to the size of the inpatient unit being doubled, with improvements in family accommodation. Construction is due to start in June, with completion due in 14 months.
Bobby and Harvey will be among a record number of entrants – 2475 in total – who have registered to take part in the Inverness Half Marathon on Sunday. It gets underway from Bught Park at 12.30pm, with runners following roads along River Ness and to the south of the city centre before returning to a spectacular finish on the track at Queen’s Park Stadium.
In addition to the half marathon, over 770 people have signed up to the accompanying 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. There will be a limited number of entries for the fun run on the day.
A number of roads in Inverness will be affected by road closures as a result of the event. Further information about the closures can be found at http://www.