Thousands ready for the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run
Some of Scotland's finest athletes will join thousands of club runners and charity fundraisers taking part in one of the north east's biggest mass participation sporting events on Sunday, when the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run takes to the streets of the Granite City.
Spectators will line the pavements as competitors from all over the UK and 15 other nations including Australia, Kazakhstan and the Unites States take on the 10km, Family Run and Aberdeen's only city centre half marathon, all of which start and finish on Union Street in the heart of the city centre.
The incredible buzz generated all around the city will be enhanced by the energetic Dezibel Drumming Band at Mounthooly roundabout, Scottish piper Chris Sibbald in Old Aberdeen, and the Northsound1 Cheer Zone on Ellon Road – all helping to spur on the runners and entertain the crowds.
The traffic-free courses showcase many of the city's key historic buildings and landmarks such as the Castlegate, Beach Ballroom, Brig O'Balgownie and Marischal College. The half marathon also includes a new section through beautiful Seaton Park before heading past St Machar's Cathedral and along the cobbled streets of the Auld Toon.
Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medal winner Robbie Simpson, from Banchory, is the star attraction in the 10km. The 26 year-old Deeside athlete won the half marathon in last year's inaugural Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run and will now attempt to complete the double by leading the way home in the shorter race.
Once he has finished the 10km he will head back to the start line to be honorary starter for the half marathon.
Simpson said: “There was a great atmosphere last year with huge numbers of spectators all around the course, but particularly at the finish on Union Street, and hopefully it will be the same again. It's brilliant to be able to compete in a city centre race and I'm sure it will be enjoyable.”
Many of the participants are running to raise funds for charities such as Mind, Cancer Research UK, Macmillan, STV Children's Appeal, North East Sensory Services, The Archie Foundation, Friends of Anchor and Sue Ryder.
Aberdeen City Council Co-leader Cllr Jenny Laing said: “Through our City Centre Masterplan Aberdeen City Council is committed to making Aberdeen an even more vibrant place to live, work and visit – and a year-round events programme is integral to that.
“We are delighted to welcome the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run back for its second year. It is an exciting addition to our city events programme. With thousands of runners participating in the race and hundreds of families in the Family Run, the city has embraced the event.
“Throughout the year we've seen Aberdeen landmarks brought to life during sporting events such as the Tour Series cycling and the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run is no exception. Runners will see many iconic Aberdeen sights along the route and we are delighted to include some new additions to the 2018 event.
“Our Aberdeen 365 events programme demonstrates the commitment of our local and national partners that support our vision of development and sustainability of culture in the north-east. The programme provides an opportunity to promote and enhance the long-term economic prosperity of Aberdeen and the wider region by attracting visitors to the city.”
Runners are able to take advantage of some fantastic offers created exclusively for them by businesses all around the city. To benefit all they have to do is show their race numbers at the outlets taking part. The Great Runners Welcome Here scheme includes discounts on beauty treatment, accommodation, eating out, tours and gifts.
Eric Wilkins, from The Great Run Company, said: “It is fantastic to have athletes of Simpson's calibre supporting the event, but everyone who takes part is a winner, from the first person over the line through to the last finisher.
“There are so many inspiring and motivational stories lying behind many of those taking part; from those who have overcome life threatening illnesses to those who have lost close relatives and want to do something to help the organisations which helped them in their time of need.
“People will travel from all over the UK and further afield to experience the joy of running through Aberdeen and we hope that the local community will come out in force to support everyone taking part on Sunday.”
Jayne Fearn, spokesperson for title sponsor Simplyhealth, said: “We're really looking forward to returning to the Granite City for the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run. We'll be supporting the many runners, of all ages and abilities, every step of the way.
“Once over the finish line, Simplyhealth will be there to take runners through their all-important cool-down at the new Simplyhealth Stretch Zone. We'll also be there to help kick-start recovery with a free a post–run massage – just turn up on the day or book in advance by visiting www.simplyhealth.co.uk/great-run-partnership.”
Chris Foy, chief executive of VisitAberdeenshire, said: “It's a real pleasure to support the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run as it returns to the city this summer. Events of this size and calibre are important for our visitor economy as we welcome runners, their friends and family from across the UK to this beautiful part of Scotland.”
Adrian Watson CEO of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “This is yet another great event returning to Aberdeen city centre this weekend. We are so excited to show off the city and encourage the many thousands who will either run or come in support of them, to make the most of the day and the place. The anticipation amongst city centre businesses for the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run is there for all to see and there are so many opportunities on offer to take advantage of some of the best retail and hospitality the country has to offer.”
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “The inaugural Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run was a huge success and it was fantastic to see the streets lined with runners, spectators and visitors to our city. We look forward to seeing the same buzz at the start line this weekend and encourage people to come out and enjoy the great atmosphere on the day.”