Celebrity trainer puts runners through their paces for the launch of the 2018 Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run

Aberdeen-born celebrity personal trainer Stuart Amory put a group of runners through their paces today (April 19th) to kick-start their training for the 2018 Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run.

Amory shared his knowledge and experience during a training session for the runners, who will all take on the 10k or half marathon distances on Sunday 26 August.

The 42-year-old, who was raised in the north east but is now based in London, has trained a number of film and TV personalities and took part in the inaugural Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run half marathon last year.

Among the runners were:

Jacqui Longrigg from Elgin: Jacqui is determined to shrug off the effects of cancer treatment to take her place in the 10k this summer.

She said: “Last May I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had surgery and chemotherapy which finished in January and I am now having radiotherapy. All of the treatments have taken a toll on me physically and mentally, but the one thing that has really helped me on both counts has been exercise outdoors, walking my dog and more recently jogging.

“I have found running has really helped my mental health and the sense of achievement you get. I still have a long way to go to be able to achieve 10km and the radiotherapy will set me back again, but signing up for the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run has given me a goal to aim for.”

Ian Thom from Aberdeen: Ian is stepping up a gear to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation, a heart disorder which if not detected can cause a stroke. He ran his first 5km in 2016, moved up to 10km last year and for 2018 he has set himself a remarkable new target before reaching his 62nd birthday in November.

He said: “I took on the challenge of running 10 x 10k events in nine hours in total. Given generous support, however, I decided to add to the challenge and look to enter and complete 16 x 10k’s for a 100 mile target.” The Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run will be one of them.

Anne Dickson from Aberdeen: Anne is tackling the half marathon in aid of Marie Curie nurses.

She said: “If it wasn't for them my brother in law Gordon McWilliam wouldn't have got his last wish to stay at home with his family. Gordon passed away this year of pancreatic cancer and doctors had advised him he'd be better in hospital so they could manage his pain relief and care but he was determined to be at home. The nurses made his wish possible. He was only 61 so I want to give something back for Gordon, he was such a brave man - an inspiration.”

Gail Irvine from Meikle Wartle near Inverurie: Gail sees the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run as proving the motivation needed to rekindle her enthusiasm for fitness.

She said: “In 2010 I did the London Marathon and it was a real struggle to finish due to an injury, the last seven miles were absolute hell and I limped across the line in 5 hours 16 minutes. I decided to take eight weeks off to recover.

“The weeks turned into years and I never picked my trainers up again. In those 8 years I had two children, gained 3 stone and let my fitness go. Last year I did the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run Family Mile with my three-year-old who is super active and loves running. I struggled to run it all!

“How could I struggle to run one mile at only 37 years old when I used to run 26 miles? At that point I could hardly run for a bus. I’m 39 this year and I’ve decide I’m not going to be fat, unfit and 40. It really is now or never!”

More than 7,000 runners of all ages and abilities took part in the inaugural Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run last year, all with their own personal story to tell and thousands of enthusiastic spectators lined the streets to cheer them on their way.

The events will start and finish on Union Street and the routes take in many of the city's key historic landmarks such as Marischal College, Castlegate, the Beach Ballroom and Brig O’Balgownie.

Romana Abdin, CEO of Simplyhealth said: “We have a passion and purpose that’s all about helping people make the most of life through better everyday health. It’s really inspiring to hear Jacqui, Ian, Anne and Gail’s stories and we look forward to seeing them and the many others at the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run this year. We’ll be supporting them every step of the way.”

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing, said: “We are delighted that the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run is set to return to the city on Sunday 26 August. The inaugural Aberdeen event in 2017 was outstanding with people lining the streets to support both the local runners and the amazing professional athletes.

“Aberdeen is a dynamic city which offers a great deal for both residents and visitors. We are working closely with local and national partners to raise the city’s profile through our Events 365 Programme and ambitious City Centre Masterplan projects, to strengthen Aberdeen’s position as a must-visit destination for high-profile cultural and sporting events”.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: "Many city centre businesses benefited from the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run last year and their feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Much was said and made of the iconic start and finish on the city’s main thoroughfare of Union Street, where better.

"We're keen to see an even larger field take part this year and for people to take the opportunity to come from near and far and discover, or re-discover, our great city centre, which has an array of top class retail, hotels and vibrant daytime and evening economies.

"We are delighted to be a key partner in this project which gives us another opportunity to demonstrate our ambition for our city alongside a growing list of other events and festivals we organise or support which have brought the city national and international recognition."

Chris Foy, chief executive of VisitAberdeenshire, said: “Hosting world class sports events in the city is fantastic for the local region as they bring local people together and attract visitors from out with the area.

“Crucially, it’s the people that make the Great Aberdeen Run something special and we’ve heard from just a few runners today who will be taking part for very different and personal reasons. There will be thousands more of these stories from participants who will line-up to start the race on Union Street in August. We invite runners and their friends and family to make a weekend of it in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire where they will enjoy a warm North-east welcome.”

Chamber chief executive Russell Borthwick, said: “As well as the economic benefits, the Great Aberdeen Run provides a real positive focus on health, wellbeing, charity and community and the Business Challenge is the ideal way for organisations to get involved.

“We know there are some friendly rivalries in the region, so it will be interesting to see these teams pitted against each other and would encourage as many businesses as possible to sign up.”