Census triathlon in the Isles

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Census Team Leader Neil Mackinnon will turn a 10k run into a triathlon on Saturday - with three sporting events along the way

Harris man Neil has decided to run the Harris 10k from Scalpay bridge, on the same day that he runs two community events for Scotland’s Census in the Western Isles.

Neil is the team leader co-ordinating the Lewis and Harris Strùpag‘s Census programme, which is being delivered by the Western Isles census team to maximise completion of Scotland’s Census 2011 in Gaelic, online. From 10am people will be gathering at Scalpay School for the census event, hosted by Scalpay Community Council and funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Immediately after that event, Neil will run from Scalpay Bridge to Tarbert in the annual Harris 10k. As soon as he’s finished the race, he’ll be going on to the day’s second Strùpag ‘s Census at Seilebost School, hosted by West Harris Community Trust.

Neil is a Gaelic-speaker as well as an athlete, so he sees both events as important. He said: “I didn’t want to miss out on the run, but I also believe it’s crucial that people get the best chance possible to complete their census form in their own language. I couldn’t choose between the events, so I decided to try and fit in all three.”

Fortunately, Neil has a good support team. Census Regional Manager Annie Delin, fellow team leader Anne Maciver and enumerators Shona Davidson, Marie Macaskill and Kate Swaine are all working hard to get the community events set up and ready when Neil appears at the door. When he arrives at Seilebost School, he says, one thing is certain: “I’ll be ready for the strùpag!”

Neil’s Census Triathlon is being celebrated by race organisers, who are offering him shirt number 20, and pairing him with runner 11 for the 10k road race.