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Runners gear up for marathon

The fourth St Magnus Marathon will get underway this Sunday.

Away from the NatWest International Island Games taking place in Gibraltar, there is a feast of sporting action in Orkney taking place this weekend.

Sunday is a huge day in the local running calendar as the UK’s most northerly marathon takes place.

The St Magnus Marathon is a 26.2-mile test, starting from outside St Magnus Cathedral. The route weaves through Kirkwall, Finstown, Rendall and Evie before finishing in Birsay.

Eighty-nine runners have signed up to tackle the event with some from as far afield as Hong Kong and the USA.

There is also a hugely popular 10K event in Birsay — 145 people have signed up for that one — and there is also a 5K Fun Run in Birsay for all ages and abilities.

The marathon will begin at 10am with registration in the Town Hall between 8am and 9.30am.

For the 10K, registration is between 10am and 11am at the Birsay Hall before the event’s start at 11.20am, and the 5K Fun Run will begin at 11.30am with entries on the day.

Also on Sunday, the semi-finals of The Orcadian Parish Cup begin.

Sandwick host Sanday at 1pm before Stromness take on St Ola at 7pm as each team look to secure first-leg advantages.

The county’s football squad is also in action in a plum tie against Highland League giants Brora Rangers.

The match, used as part of Brora’s pre-season build-up, will see Orkney go in as underdogs against a side which finished second last season.

Orcadian John Pickles plays for Brora and could feature against his home county in the match which will kick-off at 3pm on Saturday at the Picky Centre.

Also at the Picky Centre on Saturday, the Carolyn Firth Memorial Tournament will be held.

In 2011, Carolyn Firth, 21, took her own life, and the memorial tournament is not only about remembering Carolyn, it is designed to bring both men and women together to raise awareness of mental health issues.

From 11am to 4pm at the Pickaquoy Centre, teams from Inverness, Brora and Nairn will join teams from Orkney, including the Orkney Women’s Football Club and a men’s veteran team.

Money is being raised for the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) who provide over 60 services in communities across the country to help those affected by mental health problems.

The organisers say they hope to see friendly faces coming along and cheering everyone on the day, and supporting this fantastic cause.

Orkney Weightlifting Club is also hosting an exhibition day today at Strength 101 gym at Hatston.

Lifting begins at 10am and spectators are welcome.

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