Football hero to take part in park 5k challenge run

Dons hero Russell Anderson is to swop his football boots for running shoes to take part in this year's Friends of Hazlehead 5k Run held at Aberdeen's largest park.

The football star, who took AFC to cup glory in 2014 as captain when the club won the 2014 Scottish League Cup Final, is taking part in the 5k adult race which takes a scenic tour around the park which is a Red Squirrel Conservation Area.

The event, which is being sponsored by Dandara, is being held on Saturday 31st October, from 8.30am to 12.30 pm. As well as the 5K adult race, there will be children's races and an events village including catering stall and children's activities.

People are encouraged to dress up in Hallowe'en costumes for the event and there will be prizes for the best-dressed sporty spooks.

Aberdeen City Council Administration Councillor Ross Thomson said: "The Friends of Hazlehead Dandara 5k Challenge is a fantastic event and it's great that one of Aberdeen's best-loved football stars is taking part in it this year.

"Hazlehead Park has an excellent range of exciting family-friendly facilities for people who are cheering on participants, and they include playparks, café, maze, and Pets' Corner.

"The park is within walking distance or a short bike ride for residents in the west of Aberdeen, is an easy bus ride from the city centre for visitors or tourists, and there's also ample parking, so there's lots of space for the people taking part and their supporters to discover all the facilities."

Russell said: "While I know that many local charities will benefit from those participating, I'm raising funds for the Aberdeen FC Community Trust, specifically for the hugely worthwhile disability programme that the Trust delivers throughout the area.

"Hazlehead Park includes some wonderful views and I'm really looking forward to what should be an excellent family occasion."

Barbara Jones, of Friends of Hazlehead, said: "This is the second year we have organised the 5k run and it's bigger and better. This will become one of the big events in Aberdeen's running calendar attracting people from not just across the city but right across the region.

"The run is a fantastic community event involving people of all ages with great entertainment and it's a real day of fun for all the family which shows off all the wonderful attractions that Hazlehead Park has to offer. The park is perfect for events and even better for a run of this nature as, while being on the doorstep of the city, you are taken on a route that is cross country and has some stunning views.

"We are hoping for another great turnout and all the funds raised go straight back into Hazlehead Park to breathe the new life back into it that so many people from across the North-east are delighted to see. I hope to see you all there with your running shoes!"

Raising money for Friends of Hazlehead, the runs take scenic tours around the historic park which has Royal connections though Robert The Bruce, Mary, Queen of Scots and the Queen Mother Rose Garden, and this year will include four races for the whole family to enjoy.

The races include: a 600m Fun Run for ages 4 -6, from 9.30am; 1k Race for ages seven to nine, from 9.50am; a 2k Race for ages 10 – 15, from 10.10am; and a 5k Race for ages 16 +, from 11am. All participants will receive a performance t-shirt before the race and a medal upon completion.

For family and friends not participating in the races there will be an Events Village including catering stalls and children's activities. There are also great walks around the park which, at 180hectares, is the city's largest green space, or in nearby Countesswells Woods.